Happy Welffie Wednesday! Welcome back! This week is brought to you by Diana (@DianaKlatt).
Ever wonder why the ocean is so alluring? Our affinity to water is hardwired. I mean, we are in fact greater than 60% water, so that makes sense. Enter Blue Mind, a theory that states that the brain innately reacts positively to water(1). According to Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, when we are near or in water our minds fall into a mildly meditative state. Being immersed, near, in, or under water can lower stress and anxiety, decrease heart rate and breathing rates, increase your sense of well-being, and increase levels of happiness! No wonder we are so captivated by water!
Sounds a bit like forest bathing, right? Yes, but there is a difference. When we look out into water our visual field is simplified: you see the water and the horizon. Your other senses are also simplified, such as your auditory input becoming honed in on the soothing sounds of water. These simplifications add up to create a meditative state that allows you to tune out the noises of the rest of the world. Not only does this help with relaxation but also by de-cluttering of your mind, which can stimulate greater creativity.
Scenery: Removing visual distractions such as those from living in busy cities or from constantly looking at bright screens allows for your eyes to relax. The simplicity of water meeting horizon also removes the visual overstimulation we are often inundated with in our day-to-day lives.
Sound: Ocean waves have a very rhythmic pattern that they follow as they crash into the shore (check out the video below to listen). The repetitive and subtle sounds help to relax the body and creates an internal rhythm that is soothing.
Smell: The fresh air you breath in at the ocean (sea spray) is filled with negative hydrogen ion-charged particles, which absorbs oxygen and neutralizes damaging free radicals as well as helps to balance serotonin levels.
So if you’re looking for a way to get in the ultimate relaxation before summer is over, think about heading to a large body of water! If you’re afraid of water don’t worry, you don’t have to get in, sitting at the edge provides similar relaxing effects.
And below are some ocean pictures I’ve taken that you can use if needed.
Thanks for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio, @Eric_in_AmERICa, @AaronPerezPT, @DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!
1. Nichols WJ. Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.