The Life Aquatic
The science behind why we love water
We’re not just saying this because it’s the middle of July: There’s something about floating in a nice, cool body of water that leads to a state of way-chill nirvana. Marine biologist and conservationist Wallace J. Nichols agrees. And in his new pop-psychology book, Blue Mind, he sets out to prove the curative powers of H20.
Nichols, himself an archetypical West Coast beach bum, calls upon both anecdotal experience and scientific research to make his claims. His overall thesis: When we’re in or near water, our mind reverts to a calm “blue” state, as opposed to the harried “red” mind-set that dominates the rest of our lives.
On the one hand, you know what he means about the blissful nothingness that comes from staring at an open sea. On the other hand, it’s pretty cool to get the facts: A study proved that anxiety levels drop significantly after just five minutes in a hot shower; autistic children were reported to become more tolerant to touch after participating in aquatic endeavors.
In general, Nichols points to consistent EEG monitoring that has shown that proximity to water helps our brains achieve a near-meditative calm.
As both water babies and science lovers, we found it awfully convincing. By which we mean: Cannnonnnnballlll!