If the crystal-blue waters of the ocean are calling you, and you find peace when you’re drawn to the sea, you could be experiencing the power of ‘blue mind’
When I’m stressed I get snappy. On one such day several years ago, I’d been standing on the precipice of a bad spell (I’ve lived with varying degrees of depression and anxiety most of my adult life), but I was determined to stay on solid ground. I made a list of the things that might make me feel better, and asked my husband to help me do the most important one: make a visit to the beach.
The next day we packed the car and buckled up. I was emotionally drained, but hopeful that seeing the choppy, sparkling North Sea would bring me back to life. But when my husband tried to start the car, my beachside resuscitation was cancelled. The battery was dead.
With hours to wait until the repair service arrived, I spent the day in tears and couldn’t explain why. My deep sense of longing to be near water was overwhelming, and quite honestly, a bit embarrassing. That was until recently when I found out that there is a name for the powerful effect that water has on our mental health; it’s called ‘blue mind’, and I’m 100% on board.
Marine biologist, Wallace J Nichols, coined the term, and gave a TedTalk on the subject. “The term ‘blue mind’ describes the mildly meditative state we fall into when near, in, on, or underwater,” he says.
“It’s the antidote to what we refer to as ‘red mind,’ which is the anxious, over-connected, and over-stimulated state that defines the new normal of modern life. Research has proven that spending time near the water is essential to achieving elevated and sustained happiness.”
Wallace has also written a book on the subject called Blue Mind: How Water Makes You Happier, More Connected and Better at What You Do. It blends cutting-edge studies in neurobiology and psychology, with personal tales from people who have experienced the power of the blue mind in real life.
Read more from Fiona Thomas in Happiful Magazine here.