Do you love being near the water? Did you know it can actually improve your life and mental well-being? A featured Wellness article by The Huffington Post it reminds us that since ancient times, humans have assigned healing and transformational properties to water. From Roman baths to Indian medicinal wisdom and Chinese medicine, the water element is crucial to balancing the body and creating physical harmony. Today, we still turn to water for a sense of calm and clarity. It’s no wonder, the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida has attracted homebuyers to RiverTown, a new waterfront master planned community by Mattamy Homes.
Here’s a sample of the article’s insights:
The Blue Mind
Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, believes that we all have a “blue mind”— “a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment”—that’s triggered when we’re in or near water.
“We are beginning to learn that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what’s broken,” Nichols writes in Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do, published in July.
Water Gives Our Brains a Rest
In our everyday lives, we’re constantly bombarded with sensory stimuli. Our minds require downtime, but they rarely get enough of it. Being around water gives our brains and our senses a rest from overstimulation.
“The sound around us, from an auditory perspective, is simplified. It’s not quiet, but the sound of water is far simpler than the sound of voices or the sound of music or the sound of a city,” Nichols explains. “And the visual input is simplified. When you stand at the edge of water and look out on the horizon, it’s visually simplified relative to the room you’re sitting in right now, or a city you’re walking through, where you’re taking in millions of pieces of information every second.”
Water Can Induce a Meditative State
When we’re by the water, our brains are held in a state of mild attentiveness—a “soft fascination.” In this state, the brain is interested and engaged in the water, taking in sensory input, but not distracted by an overload of it, as we might be with the “hard fascination” we experience while watching an action movie or playing a video game. Being in a mindful state—in which the brain is relaxed but focused—benefits the mind and body on a number of different levels. A growing body of research has found myriad benefits associated with mindfulness, including lower stress levels, relief from mild anxiety, pain and depression, improved mental clarity and focus, and better sleep quality.
Exercise by or in Water Is Good for Our Bodies and Brains
Exercise in any setting can improve our physical and mental health on a number of different levels, and can be an excellent way of reducing stress.
“We know that water—being surrounded by blue space—helps us relax, and we know that exercise is good for our bodies and our brains,” says Nichols. “If somebody is experiencing a number of problems that exercise and stress reduction may help with, [water] is a good add-on. Find a river trail and run there, or get on a bike, or row or swim.”
Being outside near water while you’re exercising will potentially give you more of a mental boost than exercising indoors. Many people feel intuitively that being in the presence water provides tangible benefits for their well-being, and as Nichols explains, their instincts are right. “It’s almost too obvious, and it gets overlooked,” says Nichols. “But the health and neurological benefits of exercise by water are very real.”
Water Can Inspire Us to Be More Compassionate and Connected
While in the restful, contemplative state associated with observing or interacting with water, it’s also common to experience feelings of awe. The emotion of awe invokes feelings of a connection to something beyond oneself, a sense of the vastness of nature and an attempt to make sense of the experience.
“That switches you from a ‘me’ orientation to a ‘we’ orientation,” says Nichols. “You feel connected to yourself, the world around you, and whoever you happen to be with. That puts you in a ‘we’ state of mind.” It’s no coincidence, then, that many of life’s most romantic moments take place by the water—engagements, weddings and honeymoons overwhelmingly occur in waterside locations.”
Thank you Huffington post–that’s great news for our “RiverTowners” who are enjoying the sights and sounds of the St. Johns River from our newly opened private RiverClub. Located on the water’s edge, residents will enjoy the infinity edge pool surrounded by majestic cypress trees that frame the scenic water vistas. Poolside dining, a boardwalk and a playground for the kids are nestled into the picturesque landscape. A riverfront amphitheater will become a new gathering place for family and friends who enjoy being together. Kayaking, fishing, and fireside chats will create memories for families to share throughout the generations.
To learn more about RiverTown and the wide selection of new homes offered by Mattamy Homes, visit RiverTownFL.com. The community Welcome Center and model homes are open daily, showcasing the residences priced from the $200s to over $1 million.
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