Told You So: We Truly Can’t Help It

New book says humans are hardwired to feel better near the water. (Let’s go boating!)

Blue Mind book

Our brains may be hardwired to make us feel great around the water, according to the book Blue Mind.

A new book by a marine biologist says human beings are born with a natural tendency to feel calm, peaceful, happy and satisfied by the mere act of being in or near water — producing a mildly meditative state.

"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," Wallace J. 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.

The book focuses on neuroconservation, a new research field that combines neuroscience, psychology, nature and conservation. That’s a fancy way of saying scientists are starting to find evidence that humans and the water have a quantifiable link, one so important that it should (and already sometimes does) influence public health, coastal planning, travel and recreational sports including boating.

A Blue Mind summit is held annually to discuss the topic. Learn more about the book and the summit at the author's website, www.wallacejnichols.com.