Do You Live Near Water? Happiness is Yours.
According to marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols, who has spent the last 25 years studying our relationship to water, merely being close to a body of water, whether the ocean, lake or river, promotes mental health and
happiness.He wrote about it in his book, Blue Mind. Even daydreaming about traveling off to a place of warm sand and welcoming water can give people a sense of calm. The author s
ays it should come as no surprise to us that actually being next to or in a body of water does come with a set of well-being benefits.
More recent studies—including those out of a UK-based project called Blue Gym—have found that people who live near the coasts are generally healthier and happier.
It certainly comes as no surprise to the people who live in Titusville, home to the Indian River Lagoon, the shoreline of Canaveral National Seashore, and the wetlands of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge where hundreds of species of birds and animals live in harmony in wild Florida natural habitats.
It certainly comes as no surprise to the thousands and thousands of kayakers, cyclists, hikers, wind surfers, surfers, standup paddlers, boaters, fishing folk and beach goers who enjoy water views or consider water and waterside fun as part and parcel of their everyday lives.
“The term ‘blue mind’ describes the mildly meditative state we fall into when near, in, on or under water,” Nichols told USA Today in 2017. Nichols noted research proves his theory that being near water can help us all achieve an elevated and sustained happiness.”
Christopher Winter, M.D., author of The Sleep Solution, says: “There is some research that says people may sleep better when they are adjacent to nature.” “No wonder sleep machines always feature the sounds of rain, the ocean, or a flowing river,” he told Conde Nast Traveler.
Benefits of living near water, say the believers, includes lowering stress and anxiety, increasing overall sense of well-being and happiness, lowering heart and breathing rates, sleeping better, as well as offering possibilities in the treatment and management of PTSD, anxiety disorders, addiction, autism and more.
This gift we have is precious, and worth our efforts to protect it.
And while we’re waiting on additional research, I’m heading out to Black Point Wildlife Drive for an early morning drive on the way to Playalinda Beach for a swim, and back to town for a moonlit stroll down by the Titusville Marina.
Water water everywhere. And me without a care.
Blue space: The importance of water for preference, affect, and restorativeness ratings of natural and built scenes, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Mathew White, Amanda Smith, Kelly Humphryes, Sabine Pahl, Deborah Snelling, Michael Depledge, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2010.04.004;
Why Being Near Water Really Does Make Us Happier, Conde Nast Traveler, August 2017, https://www.cntraveler.com/story/why-being-near-water-really-does-make-us-happier?mbid=social_facebook;
Coastal Living, Stacey Leasca, June 14, 2019
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