“Water is medicine for those who need it most… and everyone else.” – Dr. Wallace J. NicholsBlue 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
Water is essential for life to exist and fundamental to the survival of living things. And yet, we often take water for granted in our everyday lives. Hopefully this post will give you a better understanding of water’s impact on our mental and physical well-being and provide a greater appreciation for this precious liquid. Interestingly enough, research that has looked at nature’s health benefits often overlook or neglect the benefits of being around water.
The Emotional Benefits of Water
For those fortunate enough to live on the coasts, they can experience an improved sense of physical health and well-being by living by water. In addition, coming into contact with water can induce a meditative state that makes us feel better, happier, and more creative. Even simply looking at pictures of water can make people feel calmer.
What is it about water that plays such a strong psychological role?
We engage all our senses when we’re around water: sight, smell, hearing, and touch. This immersive effect can change our moods and even help counter the effects of urbanization or constant reliance on technology. It’s been found that the consistent or fairly controlled background of a large body of water can allow our brains to relax (as opposed to urban environments that are always shifting and changing, unpredictably). And yet, when our brains notice a change in a large body of water (a wave, fish jumping, or bird), there’s a renewed sense of novelty and dopamine hit.
Because bodies of water stay the same and change simultaneously, we experience both soothing familiarity and stimulating novelty when we look at them. This is regularity without monotony, the perfect recipe for triggering a state of involuntary attention in which the brain’s default network — essential to creativity and problem solving — gets triggered.Experience Life by Life Time
The Physical Benefits of Water
Being around water has considerable psychological effects. But drinking water can have many physical effects too—given our bodies are up to 70% water. Mild dehydration can affect our attention, thoughts, and perceptions. Dehydration can even increase fatigue and anxiety as well as lower reaction times in working memory, alertness, and concentration.
A few notable reasons to drink to your health:
- Water regulates body temperature
- Our blood, which carries oxygen to our body, is more than 90% water
- Our digestive system depends on water to work properly as well as flush body waste
- Water helps maintain blood pressure
- Water helps our airways as being dehydrated can restrict air flow
- Water helps our kidneys which regulate fluid in the body
Making water a central part of our lives can have a profound effect on our emotional and physical well-being. Drink water. And if you don’t live by the coast or a body of water, taking a bath, swimming, or getting a fountain can improve your state of mind and creativity.
Dr. Sonja Stilp is a physician and founder of RISE practicing in Colorado, USA. Her favorite beverage? WATER, of course. Her favorite immersive therapy and dopamine hit? SURFING! Dr. Stilp provides personalized Active Healing and Active Wellness. Make an appointment with her to talk about your health and any concerns related to hydration.