seeing water benefits-turquoise water of Kuang Si waterfalls in Laos

This is Why Your Brain Needs To See Water

Did you know that just seeing water was a great mental health booster? You’ve probably felt it when contemplating all the beauty of the sunrise on the horizon of a lake or ocean. I kind of knew it because, for my summer holidays, I feel this strong need or call to be near any body of water whether it’s by a lake in the mountains, a river in the forest, or by the sea. I sense this bond between my brain and water. But why is our brain so fascinated by water?

From lowering your blood pressure to reducing boredom, in this article, I will explore the emotional and biological benefits of simply viewing water and appreciating its calming power.

Medical disclosure: The Fit Yourself Barre content is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of a physician. You should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

Why is seeing water good for your mental health?

Whenever you see water, even virtually, it immediately generates a chain of neurological and biological reactions like lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. Just the view, smell, and sound of bodies of water provide a sense of deep relaxation. Indeed, the increase of the blood flow to your brain promotes a great feeling of mind-body soundness.

Imagine opening your eyes to a glorious reflection of the sun’s rays dancing on the surface of a crystal-clear body of water. Inhale the fresh, crisp tranquility of the pure surroundings. Experience the delicate and calming sensation of seeing water; its health benefits can be really amazing.

viewing water benefits-scenic Moraine Lake Canada

Here are 8 mental and physical benefits of seeing water

1. Looking at water can boost your mood and wellness

A study of 59 healthy adult office workers showed that walking along where water was visible for 20 minutes a day Instantly and significantly improved the participants’ mood and well-being. Their “blue space” exposure increased the activity of the sympathetic nervous system.

2. It slows your heart and lowers your blood pressure

Another study showed that simply viewing the water of a swimming pool for 1min40s, rapidly decreased the heart rate and blood pressure compared to viewing a tree or street sign.

3. Gazing at streams of water makes you feel calmer

The slower heart rate and lower blood pressure that the mere sight of water triggers, consequently induces relaxation, providing a soothing sensory experience.

4. It brings a positive state of mind

The slight view, smell, or sound of water can remind you of something familiar. It brings on positive memories from your childhood, like the calm blue turquoise water from your family beach vacation.

Related article “my two-week vacation on the French Riviera”

5. Soaking up the view of water creates a sense of awe

Have you ever felt hypnotized by just looking at the sea and its gently lapping waves? That’s because our brain is so captivated by vast streams of water (the source, and the elixir of life), that it creates a sense of awe. This mind-water connection is so deep, and ancient, that it brings us back to our beautiful blue planet Earth’s beginnings. Something bigger than ourselves.

6. It causes mindfulness and meditation

The impact of blue, calming water on our brains holds our attention and leads to a deeper feeling of existence, keeping our focus on the present moment. It helps find inner peace.

7. Living by water increases life expectancy

Being near water not only boosts mental health but also significantly reduces mortality rates in those living within 250 meters of lakes, coasts, and rivers. Research suggests a positive correlation between health and blue-space exposure, including beneficial effects against stroke and respiratory diseases.

8. Just looking at pictures of blue spaces reduces boredom

To all those with health or mobility problems and who can’t step outside to visit the shoreline, great news, recent studies found that just watching aquatic environments on pictures, TV, and virtual reality likewise impacts the brain and improves mood. It also helps reduce boredom and relieve pain.

Related article “Balneotherapy cures: why the French love them so much?”

Bottom Line

I used to think that my need to spend my holidays near water was because when I was a kid, we spent 3 weeks camping by the ocean in southern Italy. I thought it was nostalgia. But after my little research, I discovered that it is much more than that. The brain actually needs to connect with water. Its water response is vital not only for healing our body but also for our cognitive wellness.

Whenever you feel anxious and stressed out, you may want to try looking at images of ocean ambiance or step outside, and find a local blue zone like a river bank or fountain to stare at.

I am lucky to live in an apartment that faces a little park with a cute pond where birds come to refresh and rest. I can simply gaze at it from my window and soak in the beauty and peacefulness of the water. Love this sight and now I know why!

Does seeing water move you? Please leave your comments below and if you’ve enjoyed this article, why not pin it for later?

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  1. pasindu dimanka says:

    I’d want to express my gratitude to you for writing such an informative and detailed piece about the brain. This is a highly significant and thought-provoking post. When I really think about it, I realize that I also have an issue with this. The view of the lake is quite relaxing to me. For me, doing so is similar to meditating. Keep publishing like this. I most certainly will share this.

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Oh, thank you so much for your comment. So happy to read how this post impacted you in such a positive way! Yes, the lake view is so soothing.

      You may be interested in reading 12 Remarkable Music Effects On Your Workout | Make It Fun!

  2. Alice A. says:

    Our body consists of 60% water and this is why we need to feed it enough water daily, especially our brain. This is because studies show that lack of water in the brain causes headaches, or worse, migraine.

    On the lighter side, looking at beautiful bodies of water is also good not only for our physical health but also for our mental and emotional health. You are right; the view of oceans, lakes, or other bodies of water not only gives a positive state of mind but also has a calming effect on us. Thus, it lowers blood pressure and heart rate.

    I used to wonder why sick or elderly patients would love to go to the beach even though they will not swim. Now we know that they feel much better looking at the view of the sea because it gives them inner peace.

    Whenever I feel stressed from work, I make it a point to spend the weekend at the beach or just sit beside the pool reading my favorite novel while my kids are having a splash ☺. 

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Thank you for commenting and you are right just seeing water is so peaceful! I am amazed at all the benefits just viewing bodies of water brings!

      You may be interested in reading Bone Mass | How 10 Jumps A Day Will Keep Your Bones Strong!

  3. ChrisnaE says:

    This was such a fascinating read, I have never considered how seeing the water is actually having an effect on ones brain. I always thought it was the relaxation of being on holiday (although that might also have its benefits). Bonus that swimming pools also have these effects. 

    I will commit to taking more frequent breaks during the day and sitting outside by the pool so I may enjoy these benefits. Thank you!

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      That’s right! Me too! Thank you for your comment and so glad it inspired you.

      You may be interested in reading 14 Tips For Gaining Self-Confidence | How To Believe In YOU!

  4. Michel Maling says:

    After reading this I think I now know why my favorite color is blue. My bedroom is blue as it makes me feel calm and relaxed when I walk in there. So I was not surprised to read that just looking at water can be good for you. However, I didn’t realize that it could also lower your blood pressure and had health benefits like slowing down your heart rate.

    So now is the time to sell up and move down to live at the sea I think.

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Haha, yes let’s sell up and move by sea! Thank you for your comment. One of my fav colors is blue too!

      You may be interested in reading 15 Strong Core Health Benefits|Why Core Strength Is Crucial

  5. I really enjoyed reading your article. When stressed and needing a mood booster, it is best to go to the nearest river, lake, sea, or even a fountain in the park. Looking at the water, we will quickly calm down and relax. Thank you for this beautiful article. It is beneficial, especially for busy people, as a reminder that they should relax and enjoy the wonders of nature more often.

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Thank you so much and I am really glad that you enjoyed reading it. We definitely need to contemplate more about nature and live in the present!

  6. Hello Anne, this was such a beautiful read! I dedicated nearly thirty years to my job. In the past year, my spouse and I made the decision to sell our house and car and travel around the world. There is truly nothing more satisfying than sitting beside a body of water and fully appreciating the present in the here and now. At times, I do feel some regret that it took me so long to realize this truth. When I was younger, I relentlessly pursued money, success, and career but found none of these things brought true happiness. Now that we travel each day, we have discovered new places along our journey while enjoying picnics by water or amidst mountains..we are not the youngest ones, though..If only young people would recognize their priorities sooner, spend more time in nature, and, most of all, live in this very present moment. These are the thoughts I always have when looking at the water or sitting on the beach 🙂 So much nostalgia, hope, and love, but also regret..Warm greetings from sunny Croatia 🙂

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      what a wonderful journey travelling around the world! Yes, discovering new places, enjoying nature and having picnics by water is so satisfying and healthy to our brain. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience! Warm greetings from France!

      You may be interested in reading The Secret to Better Health: How Earthing Can Help!

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