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Mindfulness by the Ocean

July 28, 2016 by Gail Asbell

Whether we’re on the yoga mat, at work, at home, spending time with family, or simply sitting, being more mindful can improve everything we do. While mindfulness is a big topic these days, the concept itself is simple. It’s a calming mental state where we focus our awareness on the present moment, taking in everything that is happening and trying to let go of the past and the future. It also means acknowledging and accepting our feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Without questions of why.

When we are more mindful, the body finds a more restful and calm state, you can be more alert and engaged with those around you, and you can start to become more attuned to your thoughts, feelings, actions, and behaviours. Mindfulness and mediation have also been linked to lower stress levels, relief from pain and depression, improved levels of clarity as well as focus, and improved sleep patterns.

But this is a lot easier said than done. One thing that can help is the ocean. And as we’re not all that far away, we thought we’d share with you what we found out about the beauty that is the sea.

The sound and look of water gives our brains an active rest

You know the familiar sound of waves crashing, or water moving around itself. Those little sways to and fro have unique sounds to them. And this gives our mind a rest without it having to shut off. Voices, technology, and other man made devices all have a lot of sounds, very busy sounds. Water allows that overstimulation to be turned off. This too is said of the visual stimulus that’s coming in. Water is calmer, more consistent, and a lot simpler than a busy road or office building.

This can create a medative state for the mind

When the mind is in a medative state it is relaxed but focused. And that is exactly what the ocean provides. It has been described as soft fascination or mild attentiveness. We get interested and stimulated by what we can see, the constant movement and change, as well as what we can hear. But there is nothing else we need to do with this information. We’re present, we’re engaged, but we’re calm. Putting us in the perfect place to be mindful and to go deeper into meditation, if the feeling arises.

It helps us foster and deepen connections

Have you ever had that ‘wow’ moment while looking at the vast ocean? That moment when you feel in awe of the experience and the surroundings? Yeah, us too. That feeling is said to open us up from the idea that we are alone, and lead us into thinking that we are part of something greater. And this increases our ability to connect to those around us as well as the universe as a whole. More specifically, those with us in that wow moment.

Creativity is easier by the ocean

 When our brain shifts from constant thinking to stillness, it opens it up for daydreaming, imagination, insight, and introspection. It switches its mode of operating to what’s known as default mode network. This way of thinking and processing is very important for creativity. We all know that you can never think of something new when you’re forcing it. This way of processing increases different and new pathways to be created, therefore new and interesting ideas can form.

Mindfulness facts from Wallace J. Nichols, who wrote 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

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