top of page

Wellbeing Tips: The power of Water

Margate Seafront
Margate Seafront

This weekend I’m in Margate.

I love Margate for many reasons, the friendly community, the creativity, fantastic restaurants and a sense of interconnectedness between people - something special I find difficult to define exactly. 

Of course, the most wonderful thing is the sea and I, like many others, spend a lot of time staring out at it. My grandfather used to look at the legions of people staring at the horizon and say ‘what are they all waiting for?’  To me it’s a primordial pull. It’s the same as staring at fires, which humans have been doing for millions of years. 

There is limited research into visual neuroscience but we do know that when we look at things with a degree of predictability to them, we get into a mode of anticipation and thinking that is somewhat linear. 

With the sea, what we are looking at is somewhat random and the mind goes into a state where our thoughts become non-linear, they are not anchored to any kind of ‘if, then’ kind of thinking, otherwise known as ‘duration, path, outcome trajectory’. 

In this trajectory, we are typically focused on three things: duration, path and outcome. What am I doing, where am I going, and what’s the point? These three things are rigidly followed in states of high stress or high focus. All you can think about is: How’s this going to happen? How will it turn out?

These three things become loose during REM and hypnosis. That’s why when you emerge from sleep or trance, you may have new creative ideas. 

UCL did a study where they asked participants to enter their mood into an app over a period of time. When they overlaid the geographical data with people’s responses, they found that those that were nearest water were happier.  And that’s any body of water, not just the sea. Maybe then, looking at water rests our mind from the ‘duration, path and outcome trajectory’ and lets it rest into a more creative state. No wonder artists are drawn to the sea. 

It may also partly explain why 20 mins in nature reduces cortisol levels, making us feel less stressed. 

So this week's wellbeing tip is whatever your plans are this weekend, perhaps try to take in being by water and see how it makes you feel. 


bottom of page