Studies Show Being Near Water Makes Us Happier

It's no secret that humans have a thing for water: We'll pay more for a hotel with an ocean view. We can be lulled to sleep by the sounds of the ocean or rainfall. We can sit on a beach and watch waves for hours. We want to live by it, walk along it, get a good view of it, listen to it... there's something about water.

So what is it? 

When you are near a body of water, it often means you have physically escaped the trappings of our tech-filled, overstimulated world to get a bit of peace of mind and soul. And taking a moment to listen to the sounds of water also means you are allowing yourself that moment to be in the present vs. the future or the past, which instantly alleviates anxiety on its own. Ironically, water helps ground us.

We know all this intrinsically. But recent studies seem to show that water has tremendous psychological and physiological effects on the human body. One such study found that when shown photographs of blue spaces, a person's stress levels drop. Another found that people who live near bodies of water lead healthier and happier lives. 

Additional research shows that being near water helps us sleep more deeply too. Northwestern University found that the subjects who fell asleep listening to sounds like running water or rain falling not only slept more deeply but their memories were boosted as well.

Seeing, hearing, sleeping, watching – it's almost like our brains crave it. And is it any wonder? Our bodies are made of 60% water. Could it be that we feel a return to our sense of self when we can connect back to it?

A fascinating piece to all this is that we humans have an effect on water too. Dr. Masaru Emoto’s groundbreaking 2005 book, The Hidden Messages in Water details his experiments conducted on water molecules that show how human thoughts and intentions can physically alter the molecular structure of water

I have heard the analogy that we are all connected to each other and all life on this planet is like the undulating ripples and rises and falls in the surface of the vast ocean. We may get our moments to shine, and yet, we cannot be separated. I like to think my photograph Copper shown at top demonstrates this, as we are blessed with a light being shone upon us time to time along our long journeys to shore. We are lifted up and get to sparkle for a moment, lifting others up too. I hope my work helps you feel that and remember that.