Blue Mind - Why being near water makes you feel happier!
Lynn Goring-Crook, our National Aquatic Training Lead, is here to share more about the phenomenon that is Blue Mind and why being near water makes us feel so good.
It's long been accepted humans like water. We seem to be drawn to it in a way that goes beyond the need to be rehydrated to keep us alive. Our want to be near water is thought to be leftover from a time when we evolved from the sea and in recent years the emergence of what is now called ‘Blue Mind’ has been explored in more depth.
The phrase 'blue mind' was first coined by Marine biologist, Wallace J Nichols and quite simply put, means water makes us happy; taking a shower, swimming in the sea or pool, even standing in the rain or looking at a picture of water has been shown to calm us, alter our mood for the better and encourage mindfulness.
Ever wondered why you are drawn to book the holiday near the sea or with a nice swimming pool? Or why do parents and children alike report swimming lessons are their favourite extracurricular activity of the week? Is it possible one of the reasons is our blue mind and how the water leaves us feeling?
During lockdowns, swimming saw a surge in popularity, and with swimming pools shut people were drawn to the open water settings of the sea, lakes, and rivers. People flocked to the water at the earliest opportunity of restrictions being lifted. It seemed to be one of the first places we all wanted to go, no matter how far away we lived.
Newbies to wild and open water swimming reported how great they felt after just a dip or if they took a long swim. A wave of happiness and clarity washed over them leaving them feeling refreshed and revitalised. Many took up open water swimming as a result and as colder weather approaches, we are seeing more transfer back to the pool if they don’t fancy the polar swims of the winter.
Swimming lessons are also seeing a surge in bookings like never before. A much-loved activity being the choice of many families. Parents have always been keen for children to learn to swim for safety reasons and this is, without doubt, an important consideration, but I wonder if it now goes beyond this, even if we don’t fully understand why. Maybe it is our blue mind encouraging us.
Next time you are at the swimming pool, take a moment. If you are watching swimming lessons then enjoy your child’s delight at learning to swim but for your own mindfulness maybe take that moment to enjoy looking at that lovely blue water and feel it calm you.
Come along and have a swim yourself, consider submerging under the water for a second and hitting the reset button – see how it feels.