The bestselling book, Blue Mind, by Marine Biologist Wallace J. Nichols, details the science behind the remarkable effects water has on our health and state of mind. By exploring the concept of blue mind, its positive impact, and how to reach it, we can better understand how our brains work, and use that knowledge to improve our wellbeing.
What Is Blue Mind?
Nichols defines blue mind as “the mildly meditative state we fall into when near, in, on or underwater." We spend much of our lives in a state known as red mind, which is characterized by the overstimulation of our everyday surroundings and responsibilities. According to neuroscientist Catherine Franssen, Ph.D., red mind is an "edgy high, characterized by stress, anxiety, fear, and maybe even a little bit of anger and despair.”
Rather than turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with this discomfort, we can spend time in or near water to unlock the state of blue mind—the opposite of red mind—to feel calm and at ease.
The Benefits of Blue Mind
Simply put, water makes us happy. Nichols emphasizes how water “provides an important backdrop to everyday parts of living,” and people tend to react much more positively to pictures that feature water than to those that do not. Simply put, water makes our brains feel better.
And blue mind does more than help us relax. Studies have shown that blue mind provides physical benefits like a decrease in heart and breathing rates and increased athletic performance. It also leads to a boost in creativity. Researchers are even studying the use of water to treat a variety of health problems and disorders.
How Blue Mind Works
The results of blue mind are clear, but why does water have such a positive effect on our mental state? Neuroscientist Michael Merzenich, Ph.D., has an explanation.
According to Mezernich, our brains are constantly filtering our surroundings, sorting stimuli into information that is useful for us and information that is not. This can be overwhelming in environments where a lot is going on. Water, on the other hand, is predictable—when we're near it, our brains aren't always being bombarded with the new input that comes from changes in our surroundings.
When a small change does occur, like the motion of a wave or an aquatic animal, the brain is undistracted enough to focus on that change and be thrilled by it. This balance of familiarity and surprise puts us in a dreamlike state.
Accessing Blue Mind
We can achieve a state of blue mind through a variety of methods. Smaller bodies of water like lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, fish tanks, fountains, and even bathtubs can all activate the positive surge of emotions that come with blue mind.
However, the best way to access blue mind, of course, is to go to the beach. Studies indicate that the negatively charged ions near the sea lower blood lactate levels and improve mood. And there's nothing more beautiful than a warm, sandy shore.
Blue Mind in Belize
Vacationers have always sought out destinations near the water, and Nichols predicts that this trend will only grow as people become more aware of the benefits of blue mind. Nothing compares to the bliss that comes from spending time away from the daily grind—no cell phone, no responsibilities, just you and the water. There’s no better place to achieve this state of euphoria than in Belize!
Belize is home to the second-largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. From diving in the Great Blue Hole, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to snorkeling in Ambergris Cay, a 25-mile long island off the coast of northern Belize, there is no shortage of exhilarating aquatic activities available to you. Or, if you feel like sitting on the beach with a tropical drink in hand, Belize offers extraordinary water views like no other.
Whether you’re looking for adventure or meditation, Orchid Bay, Belize is surrounded by the beautiful waters of the Caribbean Sea. It is the ideal community to stay for a week, or enjoy your own vacation home and visit throughout the year. Vacationers sand homeowners can choose between Beachfront Condominiums, Beach Villas, or Bungalows, right on the most gorgeous coastline in Belize. Without even leaving the community, there are plenty of opportunities to make the most of its water offerings, including access to an infinity pool, paddleboards, kayaks, and beach volleyball.
With its exquisite scenery, first-class amenities, and modern conveniences, Orchid Bay allows you to make the most of all Belize has to offer. Contact Orchid Bay today so you can experience the benefits of blue mind for yourself.