Have you had a chance to spend any time near the water this summer? If you’re like my family, a trip to the beach isn’t in the cards this year. But I’ve found relaxation and a recharge by taking walks along the river. And there’s science behind my feelings of calmness and clarity. You benefit– mentally, emotionally and physically, when you spend time near, in or around the water. It can help you and your child feel more calm, more connected, more inspired.
I grew up surrounded by water— on the St. Croix River, with The Bay of Fundy right around the bend. I miss it, and definitely feel the positive affects of being close to it again when I come home.
Carolyn Gregoire writes in Huffpost US about the calming creative affects we experience when we are near a body of water. We’ve been turning to water for its calming affects from Roman times; where baths were used for relaxation, to today; enjoying everything from a trip to the lake to a soothing bath. https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/mental-benefits-water_n_5791024
Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, believes that we all have a “blue mind” — as he puts it, “a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment” — that’s triggered when we’re in or near water.
Nichols says that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water. Being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what’s broken.
Nichols writes in 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 that “being around water gives our brains and our senses a rest from overstimulation.” When we’re near, on, in or under water, we get a cognitive break because there’s simply less information coming in.
Nichols goes on to say that water can induce a meditative state and can inspire us to be more compassionate and connected. And in his book Nichols shows the science behind the theory that exercising by, or in water, benefits both our bodies and our brains.
So whenever you can swing it, enjoy a walk with your child, along a beach, by the river, or near a lake. This can be an incredibly affective way to calm an anxious mind or jumpy body.
And here are three of my favourite books where water is the backdrop to a summer experience.
Dear Mr. Blueberry by Simon James
A little girl and her teacher correspond over the summer about the a whale named Arthur.
Ocean Meets Sky by Eric Fan and Terry Fan
A little boy finds the spot his Grandfather told him about— where ocean meets sky.
Town is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz and Sydney Smith
Spend a day in the life of a child, who’s town is by the sea.