Do you have a Blue Mind?
According to marine biologist and author Wallace J. Nichols, Ph.D., we all do. Nichols describes the “Blue Mind” as the incredible sense of peace each one of us experiences when we’re near water, and in his recent book of the same name he explores the substantial scientific evidence that proves the many health and happiness benefits of living in a place like, well, the Bayshore on Hilton Head Island.
Ask any of our residents what they love about island life in our waterfront senior living community and they’re bound to boast of the spectacular views of South Carolina’s Intracoastal Waterway, the beautiful, expansive pier and boat dock, the outdoor waterside swing trellis and fire pit, and our outdoor heated swimming pool with gorgeous bay views. They’ll tell you that it’s this closeness to (and interaction with) the water that nurtures their bodies, stimulates their minds, and revives their spirits. Dr. Nichols, and the supporting science, tells us that they’re absolutely right.
A recent study conducted by Michigan State University evaluated the mental health of residents of the coastal city of Wellington, New Zealand. They examined those who lived with views of blue spaces (in this case, either the Tasman Sea or the Pacific Ocean) and those who lived inland with views or forests or parks. According to the results, “Increased views of blue space is significantly associated with lower levels of psychological distress. However, we did not find that with green space.” And after controlling for a variety of variables including wealth and age, their findings held true. This “blue view” benefit was essentially confirmed in a recent study conducted by a U.K. based project called the Blue Gym, which found that people who live near coasts are generally happier and healthier, including physically healthier, and there are lots of reasons why. Here are just a few.
- Air exposed to water is charged with negative ions which help your body absorb oxygen, thereby combatting free radicals and improving alertness and concentration.
- Research has shown that the very sound of waves and water alter brainwave patterns, producing a state of relaxation. Increased relaxation and decreased stress actually strengthen the immune system, allowing us to better fight off illness and disease.
- Plants and trees—especially those growing near water—are known to give off chemicals called phytoncides that, when breathed in, can elevate white blood cells which fight infections.
- Environmental psychologist Matthew White at the University of Exeter in England states that waterside living may actually encourage physical activity, and according to the National Cancer Institute, even moderate amounts of light physical activity can increase life expectancy.
As Dr. Nichols told Conde Nast Traveler magazine, “Water is medicine, for everyone, for life.”
We couldn’t have said it any better. If you would like to get a taste of all of the many benefits of island life and waterside living for yourself, contact us at The Bayshore on Hilton Island at 843-342-2222. We think you’ll find we’re just the kind of uncompromising, next-generation senior living community your “Blue Mind” is searching for!