Have you ever thought why you feel so calm when next to water? The peacefulness you feel watching the glistening sparkles of the ocean? Or the feeling of being purely present while watching the ripples on the water fade away?
The human body makes up 70% of water – even our bones hold 31% water. One could say that water is our biological need, which probably explains why when we are in close proximity to water, it makes us feel calm and serene. In fact, research shows that people living near water report better mental health and wellbeing.
In his book, ‘Blue Mind: The surprising science that shows how being near, in, on, or underwater can make you happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what you do’ marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols highlights how when near, in or underwater, we fall into a meditative state that essentially heals the over-stimulated and anxious mind, releasing you from the shackles that we tend to find ourselves in everyday life.
In today’s modern-day life, we tend to have very busy schedules – racing from meeting to meeting, ensuring that our team are happy, and hustling to keep the business afloat. We are consumed by technology, and with working from home now a very common norm, are we really dividing our work and ‘me’ time enough? It can be hard to fully switch off, and we often find ourselves culprit to neglecting our well-deserved time to relax and be fully present, push the pause button and refresh our mind and body.
Speaking to Britain’s most successful ever female kayaker, a 2-time Olympian and 6-time World Champion Anna Hemmings, on her views of the wellness benefits of the water, Anna expressed how ‘’people tend to think that mindfulness is about meditating, sitting there in a cross-legged position and doing some deep breathing. And it can be that. But I think for me, mindfulness is about being present. It’s about being in the moment and clearing our mind. It’s about letting your thoughts just be, without judging them. When you’re on the water, and I certainly experienced this, you can use that as an opportunity to be present. If I was paddling along in my kayak, I would be looking at the water, the colour of it, the shimmers in the sunlight, will be listening to the sound as my paddle hits the water, looking at how the ripples fall away. It’s about using all of your senses to be present, and I think the water is such a beautiful place to help you become present.’’
Taking time to truly relax and connect with nature will really help you and your team reset from busy corporate lives, reducing the stress levels and mental clutter that comes with it. In fact, research has shown that mindfulness can improve cognitive flexibility, which in return increases a team’s ability to process information in new and different ways, facilitating creative thinking, innovation and problem-solving.
When organising your next corporate retreat, think water – think mindfulness. You and your team can engage in fun water-based activities and relaxed times by the sea to make long-lasting memories that positively impact your health and wellbeing. The perfect way to improve health, mindfulness and wellbeing, in a great environment all together.