”Whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it is high time to get to the sea as soon as I can,” Herman Melville’s in Moby Dick.
We are living in a time where stress and anxiety levels are constant and at an all-time high. With the average person spending upwards to three and a half hours on their phone every day it's no wonder we're so stressed. Time on our phones has been shown to increase our levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone. It's been scientifically proven that, “Every chronic disease we know of is exacerbated by stress,” says Dr. Robert Lustig, emeritus professor in pediatric endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of “The Hacking of the American Mind.” “And our phones are absolutely contributing to this.”
So, what do we do? According to marine biologist and author of "Blue Mind" Wallace J. Nichols, we find "our water" and here's five reasons why...
1. Happy Chemicals Being around water has been shown to induce chemicals in the brain that promote wellness, increase blood flow to the brain and heart to induce relaxation. It’s no coincidence that homes near or overlooking the water are the most desireable.
2. Boost Creativity: Water is being used to help manage and treat PTSD, addiction, and anxiety disorders. Studies have also been done to show that being near water can boost creativity and enhance conversation.
Well respected intellectuals, artists, and writers were known to use water as a way of channeling their creativity. Some known to do a lot of their writing in bathtubs or taking showers whenever stuck with writer’s block.
“There is something about being in water and swimming which alters my mood, gets my thoughts going, as nothing else can,” Sacks writes. “Sentences and paragraphs would write themselves in my mind, and at such times I would have to come to shore every so often to discharge them.” -Oliver Sacks
3. Mental Rest: The weightlessness of being in water gives your brain an opportunity to take a break from all it’s effort in controlling the hundreds of muscles that keep you up and moving. It’s safe to say when we’re on stand up paddleboards this isn’t true but have you ever jumped into the water after paddling your board for thirty minutes? Try finishing your next paddle with a swim/float (if the conditions are safe and permit it) and soak in the relaxing effects of being weightless and see where your mind takes you.
4. Feel More Connected to Nature: Water has the ability to transition you into more of a meditative state. It’s so use to having constant and complex input, both visual and auditory. Being in or near water free of your phones and other distractions allows your mind to put its attention elsewhere. You may notice that you feel more connected to nature and to yourself when you’re in the water. Wallace J Nichols, marine biologist and author or ‘Blue Mind’, says in an article “In a natural environment on or near water, there’s a high degree of predictability — unlike a busy street, a body of water is largely the same from moment to moment. The background we see is fairly controlled, which allows part of the brain to relax.”
5. Increased Compassion: Water can possibly change your perspective. The river, ocean, lakes, and waterfalls all have the ability to make us feel a sense of awe. Some studies have found that this sense of awe in the vastness and power of water can shrink our egos and encourage more generosity and compassion towards our fellow humans.
But don't take our word for it. Go out there and find your water.