Water–The Best Medicine You Can Take, and Its Wicked Fun, Too!
Ever notice how a nice hot bath makes everything just a little bit better? How about the pleasant lassitude after a swim in a lake or pool? I’ve always felt water to be relaxing–from the sounds of the ocean and rushing rivers to dipping my toes in a mountain lake–and now there’s data to support that feeling, which is pretty significant and powerful for all of us who love to play in the outdoors. Instead of seeking out medication or distracting vacations (think Disneyland) for relaxation and restoration, the best activity to relieve stress and calm the mind and body lies in water.
According to recent research in cognitive neuroscience, simply being near water “helps amplify nature’s soothing, healing qualities.” There’s even a whole summit about the health benefits of being in and around water: Blue Mind. Whether you’re fishing, swimming, rafting, diving or just crossing a stream, water is an important solution to today’s stressful environment. And a new paperback version of the New York Times bestseller 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 is coming out in July 2015. How’s that for incentive to get into the water? The book and the annual summit are the brainchild of marine biologist and ocean-conservancy researcher Wallace J. Nichols, PhD. Learn more about the next Blue Mind summit here.
Blue Mind vs. Red Mind
The concept of Blue Mind was inspired by its opposite–Red Mind. Neuroscientist Catherine Franssen, PhD, describes Red Mind as “edgy high, characterized by stress, anxiety, fear, and maybe even a little bit of anger and despair.” Sound familiar? While this state of mind can result in lots of productivity and definitely plays an important role in accomplishing goals, it’s not healthy or sustainable over the long haul. Blue Mind, however, is. Here’s how Nichols defines it:
A mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peace, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment.
When was the last time you felt calm, peaceful and satisfied? Can you even remember it? Not to brag (of course, now I must), but I can recall numerous times where I was blessed with that state of mind, and all of them involved the blue stuff. Whether I was diving in Central America, rafting in Maine or soaking in natural hot springs, I’ve become a big fan of being in, on, under and around water. It’s the most restorative and relaxing experience I know. And now I know why… So what are you waiting for? Jump into the blue and get out of the red!
Interested in more? Read Nichols’ full blog article on Why Being Around Water is Good for You.
Need an easy, fun, exciting, AND peaceful water experience? Raft the Kennebec River with us! Daily trips all summer long. Big white water on the upper gorge section, awesome grilled riverside lunch, then playful and ultimately peaceful water on the lower gorge section.