Did you know that by immersing yourself in water, you can improve your memory, mood, concentration, and cognitive function?
Studies have found that immersing your body in water, increases blood flow to the brain, which leads to the aforementioned benefits. Sure, we all know that exercise can accomplish all of these things, but so can dunking ourselves underwater in the shallow end of a pool? Yes. In fact, some studies have found that listening to the water, looking at pictures of water, or even taking a bath or a shower could offer some of the same rewards.
“Blue Mind” is a term associated with water-related calm and peace. According to the best-selling book, of this same name, by Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, humans are naturally drawn to blue space. He says this leads to feelings of wellness and peace when we are in or around bodies of water. Nichols believes that this is due to the fact that our bodies are 70 percent water, and water covers about 75 percent of the earth, thus leading to an immediate positive response when we are near water. Dr. Nichols goes on to say,
“Research has shown that being near, in, on or under water can provide a long list of benefits for our mind and body, including lowering stress and anxiety, increasing an overall sense of well-being and happiness, a lower heart and breathing rate, and safe, better workouts. Aquatic therapists are increasingly looking to the water to help treat and manage PTSD, addiction, anxiety disorders, autism, and more.”
So what if you don’t live near an ocean, a lake, or a river? Or what if a beach trip just isn’t in the budget right now? That’s ok. Though the benefits of visiting the ocean or any body of water in nature, are plenty, studies have shown that something as simple as a dunk in the local community pool, or even just relaxing in a warm bath, can have a positive impact on your life.
Some of the mental health benefits of simply taking a bath are:
It can help you to breathe easier: When water is warm it can help increase your heart rate, thus improving your oxygen intake. The steam created can also help to clear your sinuses and any chest congestion. And is especially helpful at providing relief from cold and flu symptoms.
Submerging in water can help reduce physical pain and inflammation.
Time in the tub promotes relaxation and reduces levels of stress and anxiety in the body, resulting in an improved mood.
Bathing can kill bacteria and improve your immune system.
Spending time in the bath can help balance hormones, and even increase levels of the feel-good chemical, serotonin.
Bathing can regulate your body temperature. It can warm you up on a cold day, and cool you down on a hot one.
But what if you don’t have a bathtub? No problem. Though submerging the body in water, is ideal in order to reap certain benefits, many of them can also be obtained in the shower.
When taking a shower, take the time to be present and feel the warm water as it helps to relax and soothe your body, and your mind. Being present with the sensation of the water can help relieve tension and anxiety, and breathing in the steam can clear your breathing passages and your mind.