Water in the ocean, rivers, lakes and even baths can make us feel calmer, increase well-being and boost creativity. Blue Mind is the mildly meditative state people fall into when they are near, in, under or on water. Water positively affects the mind and body, and the Blue Mind Theory provides ways people can use water to improve their well-being. Blue Mind is the term used to describe the state of water-associated peace. Some of the ways water can produce physical and mental health benefits include:
- Bodies of water trigger involuntary attention, which is essential to problem-solving and creativity.
- Water increases the neurotransmitters dopamine, sometimes called the feel-good hormone; serotonin, also known as the happiness hormone; and oxytocin, described as the cuddle hormone; and decreases cortisol, described as the stress hormone.
- Water is a source of awe that expands a person’s compassion.
- The color, sound and feel of water can lower pulse rate and increase feelings of calmness.
There are easy ways to experience a blue mind such as:
Go for a swim
Swimming can have an effect similar to doing yoga, as the deep breathing, gentle movement and stretching all combine to put a person in that mild meditative state.
Have a bath
Immersing in water levels out the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which, respectively, control the “fight or flight” response during a threat or perceived danger and the “rest and digest” mode, restoring the body to a state of calm.
Get a fish tank or visit an aquarium
One study found that observing an aquarium for at least 10 minutes can significantly lower blood pressure and heart rate.
Drink a glass of water
Even mild dehydration can have negative effects on a body’s ability to function properly, resulting in higher levels of anxiety and fatigue, while decreasing reaction time and overall ability to focus. Because water is the major component of most body parts, there are many reasons to stay hydrated, including:
- Forming saliva for digestion.
- Keeping mucosal membranes moist.
- Allowing body cells to grow, reproduce and survive.
- Flushing body waste, mainly in the urine.
- Lubricating joints.
- Helping the brain manufacture hormones and neurotransmitters.
- Regulating body temperature (sweating and respiration).
- Acting as a shock absorber for the brain and spinal cord.
- Converting food to components needed for survival through digestion.
- Helping deliver oxygen throughout the body.
Learn more about the Blue Theory in this Blue Cross® Virtual Well-Being webinar. You can also sign up for future employer-focused and general interest webinars here, where you’ll find past sessions and resources. Related:
- How Much Water Do You Really Need to Stay Hydrated?
- Take the Well-Being Challenge
- How Chronotypes Affect Your Energy
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