The Surprising Stress Relief Remedy That’s All Around

Sometimes the things you’re supposed to do to relieve stress—meditate, exercise, sleep more—can be stressful to incorporate into your day. Luckily there’s a new way to fight anxiety and feel more relaxed, and all you need is some water.

In the new book Blue Mind, marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols says that human brains react positively to water. It makes you feel calm, happy, innovative, connected and insightful. Whether it’s in the form or oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, swimming pools or bathtubs, H2O floods the brain with “feel-good” hormones, causing stress levels to drop.

Here are four ways to get yourself into a “blue mind” state:

  1. Head to the water’s edge. Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline in the U.S.—take advantage of it! Activities like rafting, kayaking and canoeing are increasingly being used as therapy, especially for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and depression. If you aren’t into those sports, just go for a walk near the lake (or a pond or stream). The calming noise gives your brain and senses a rest from the overstimulation you probably experience throughout the day.
  2. Keep a photograph of a river or ocean next to your desk. Whenever you’re sitting in front of a computer screen, you’re bombarded by distractions and overstimulation. Having an image of an ocean or river on your desk can not only have a calming effect, but also inspire you and spark creativity.
  3. Take a non-rushed shower or bath. Have you been in the middle of washing your hair when an amazing idea comes to you? When you’re in the shower or taking a bath, you’re giving your mind the downtime necessary to daydream, deactivate and think about things in a calm manner. Do double-duty by sudsing up with a lavender body wash—the scent will relax you even more.
  4. Drink it up. Nichols notes that babies are born with 80 percent of their bodies comprising of water and that those levels gradually decline as we get older. And a side effect of dehydration is stress. Water helps your brain function better, and being dehydrated makes cortisol levels (a stress hormone) go up. Take a water bottle with you when you run errands to make it easy to stay hydrated.

There isn’t one right way to incorporate water into your life but there is a lot of evidence pointing to the huge benefits of doing so. How do you incorporate water into your life?


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Photo credit: nate2b

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