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    Water is least likely to come up in discussions around mental well-being. This isn’t all that surprising. People know about the positive effects of water intake on improving physical well-being, but so many people are still in the dark about how being close to water impacts mental health.

    With this brief post, we aim to change that.

    We will look at the fascinating Blue Mind Theory that’s gradually taking mental health circles by storm. And being close to water bodies might be the key to boosting happiness.

    The Link Between Water, Biological Processes, and Mental Well-Being

    This humble, transparent liquid can do more than quench our thirst. Some may find it hard to believe, but water is actually the “rocket fuel” for several biological processes that happen inside us.

    Studies have found that even a mild increase in water intake  has a significant impact on restoring water balance. Water intake also  plays a huge role in fertility in both men and women. And there are already enough studies to show that individuals with fertility problems are  likely to be battling depression and  have difficulty sleeping.

    Sufficient water intake and hydration levels also stimulate the three major parts of the brain—the cerebellum, the encephalic trunk, and the brain cortex. A 2019 study uncovered  a link between hydration levels, brain functioning, and moods. Subjects in the trial who were on low water intake showed weaker cognitive functions and bad moods, while those on moderate to high water intake displayed improved cognition and positive feelings.

    So, there is no denying the link between water intake and mental health. But the Blue Mind Theory takes the impact of water in an exciting new direction.

    What is the Blue Mind Theory?

    The  Blue Mind Theory is the brainchild of Dr. Wallace Nichols, a marine biologist turned bestselling author. The theory builds on what we have already experienced at some point in our lives—that being close to water bodies like seas, lakes, etc. makes us feel better.

    But the Blue Mind Theory takes it even further. It shows the positive effect on our bodies when we are close to water. Even staring at water bodies fills most of us with a meditative sense of calm and feelings of contentment. This meditative state is what Dr. Nichols calls the “Blue Mind.”

    Some experts consider the blue mind as the antidote to the “red mind," which is the feeling of anxiety and the bludgeoning stress that comes along with modern life. While a red mind fills you up with frustration or an impending sense of doom, a blue mind fills you with satisfaction, gratitude, and a more positive outlook towards life.

    How Does Being Around Water Bodies Boost Our Mental Health?

    Some of the recent research studies have been quite resounding in their conclusions. One  decade-long study, in particular, flat-out asserts that people living around “blue spaces” lived happier than those who didn’t and were less likely to suffer from mental health issues.

    There are a few reasons why this happens. Being around water bodies:

    • Expands our minds and puts us at ease

    Water bodies have a stimulating effect on our minds and psychology.  Researchers in psychology believe it has something to do with the color blue. The color blue in color psychology is often associated with  calmness, relaxation, and tranquility. When a person is staring out into oceans or lakes, most of which are light blue in color, their subconscious mind automatically assumes a relaxed state. Their minds gradually expand and become more creative and receptive to ideas.

    • Reduces Our Stress

    Our doctors don’t advise us to go on a seaside vacation for lack of imagination. People living in coastal areas are less stressed and happier,  as a UK study found. So, seasides may be the best places to unwind. And you don’t have to pack your bags and move to the coast for this. Even  a short vacation at the beach will cut down on the cortisol flowing in your body and reduce your stress levels.

    • Promotes mindfulness and reflection

    Water is the most powerful of all the five elements in the universe. Other than instilling a sense of awe in us, water is mystifying—the way it evokes feelings of wonder, gratitude, and humility. Maybe that’s why many  experts swear by meditating on the seaside. Oceans and lakes provide soothing sensory experiences. The sound of the waves crashing and the sight of water rising and ebbing combine to put our minds at ease. It puts us into a state of mindfulness, triggers positive memories and feelings, and helps us reflect on our lives.

    • Improves our mental energy
    There is also a noticeable surge in mental energy when we are close to water. Water invites us to enjoy physical activities like swimming, surfing, boating, or simply walking about on sandy beaches. All these activities,  swimming in particular, are known to improve our mental health.

    What are Some Ways To Be Close to Water Bodies?

    And if you think living on the coast is the only way to enjoy the benefits of blue spaces, we would like to dissuade you of this notion. There are many ways to be close to water bodies and enjoy their benefits for mindfulness and reflection. Here is what you can do:

    • Visit a Natural Water Body Near You:

    If you live near the coast, a lake, a river, or a waterfall, you can take some time to visit it regularly and appreciate its beauty and power. You can also swim, kayak, surf, or sail on the water if you like.

    • Create Your Own Blue Space at Home:

    Not having access to a natural water body nearby shouldn’t stop you from enjoying being close to water. You can create your own blue space at home using a fountain, a fish tank, a bathtub, or even a glass of water. You can decorate your water space with plants, stones, candles, or other items that make you feel relaxed and happy.

    • Go on Regular Vacations:
    Vacations are excellent ways to detox your mind and unwind from stress. So why not go on vacations to beaches and lakesides? Seaside vacations and water-based activities have therapeutic benefits that go beyond the physical and extend to mental well-being.
    • Watch or Listen to Water Online:
    If you can't be physically close to water bodies at all times (or if you want some variety), you can watch or listen to water online through videos or audio recordings. There are many websites and apps that offer soothing sounds and images of water for free or for a small fee.

    Strive to Have a Blue Mind

    Water has an astonishing impact on the mental health of people. And the Blue Mind Theory suggests that being close to water may be the key to long-term happiness. If you have a “blue mind,” you can live a longer, happier, and more fulfilling life.

    And the best part? You don’t have to be living in coastal areas to enjoy all the amazing benefits of a blue mind. You get creative and build your own personal water space.

    We hope this blog post has motivated you to be close to water bodies more often (or at least virtually) and enjoy their benefits for your mental health and well-being.

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