Finding Mindfulness on the Water

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The day mindufulness finally clicked for me was the day my life became so much better.  

 

I was dong research for some upcoming eco tours trying to find reasons why spending time in nature promotes happiness.  I had always felt refueled after a day playing outside as a kid and even now as an adult but I had no idea that there was something deeper behind this feeling.  As I dove into the science (former research scientist here!), I found that nature improves our mental performance because it helps us be in the moment.

Turns out, being mindful makes us better in life and we get the full effects when we spend time on water.


Here's how mindfulness works:  

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Every second of the day, we have a secondary voice inside our heads (don't worry, I get it too) that is constantly chattering.  It comes from the left side of our brains, our rationing center, where the observations noted from the right side of the brain are being processed and weaved into a story that best explains what we see.  The left side acts as an interpreter of reality.  This is how our perceptions are formed.

Researchers are finding that this left side processing center is actually not so accurate.  Your right side may note, "Becky just picked up her phone" while your left side interprets, "Becky is bored and no longer listening therefore I must not have anything important to say, ever."  

Just because you saw Becky pick up the phone doesn't mean she's not listening or that she is bored.  It's just the story our left brain has chosen to interpret the situation.

When we focus too much on these exaggerated stories, we can end up angry, sad, frustrated, or anxious.  The beauty of becoming conscious of this interpreter is that it means we no longer have to take these interpretations too seriously.
 

We can change the story we tell ourselves any time we want.

 

water can help

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Oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams bring us into a space of relaxed engagement where our brains are processing our surroundings but in a different way.  The sights, sounds, and smells of nature are simplified as compared to those we encounter while walking through a city.  

When our brains and our senses get a break from the overstimulation of every day life, our brains become better at focusing on the concrete in life.  Suddenly, we're not getting so wrapped up in the stories and occasional false interpretations of our left brain.  The volume inside turns down and we're instead simply in awe, captured in the moment.
 

 

The emotion of "awe" is the secret behind living a meaningful life

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Being in a state of awe invokes strong positive feelings of connection to something bigger than ourselves - to that "one with the universe" feeling that brings about a general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment.

Nothing inspires awe more so than observing or interacting with water.  The relaxed but focused state offered by water is known as a "Blue Mind".  As opposed to our constricted, stressed, chaotic Red Mind, Blue Mind is clear, creative, and in flow.  

Here's some of the best ways to use Blue Mindfulness to live a better life:

  • Happiness is a choice ~ Remember who controls your reality, YOU
  • A quiet mind is able to hear intuition over fear ~ Quiet down that nasty inner voice by practicing observation

  • Engage your Blue Mind ~ Spend time by water to benefit from the full effects of mindfulness

  • Fall into awe ~ The secret to living a meaningful life is to live in awe

 

Spend more time in, on, under, and near water, and you'll rev up your Blue Mind and begin to weave positive stories about "how life is".  If you haven't already signed up for a Self + SUP session, please do!  We facilitate mediation, journaling, and standup paddleboard sessions from 7-8:30am on Ft. Lauderdale Beach to help you find mindfulness on the water. 

 

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when you tune into the right side of your brain.

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Wishing you water!