Can Being Near Water Make You Happier?

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols PhD, discussing sea turtle conservation. Photo courtesy of TEDx Monterey

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols PhD, discussing sea turtle conservation.
Photo courtesy of TEDx Monterey


July 25, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)

Wallace J. Nichols is a PhD, marine biologist, conservationist and author of the new book Blue Mind. In his book he discusses his research on why it seems we are happier when we are near, in or under the water and the positive effects that water seems to give us. Nichols is a biologist, a water conservationist and a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences.  Dr. Nichols’ book is based on years of research, which includes his studies of the behaviors of the visitors that come to the Academy’s 212,000 gallon aquarium, as he discussed in a recent Outside Magazine article. He’s observed that once visitors enter the room where the aquarium is, they seem to relax, to become quiet, to transform into a more peaceful state of mind. He says in the article that couples even start holding hands, staring into the giant blue aquarium. Dr. Nichols believes this is because when we “come into that blue space,” we naturally become relaxed, and our stress decreases.

Something happens in the brain when we are near the water, and Dr. Nichols  hopes that his campaign to generate a new type of science he dubbed neuro-conservation will attract neuroscientists to test his theories by studying the brain waves of individuals that are near that blue space. He explains in his book, Blue Mind, that this new science is based on neuroscience, psychology, nature and conservation, and that he hopes the research will influence how we treat our planet and our bodies of water.

In his book, he discusses why we feel calm and less anxious around water, with stories from athletes, scientists, artists and others who describe why they find it easier to be more productive, creative and relaxed when in or by water. Dr. Nichols is passionate about the conservation of our oceans and waterways. He has spent years being a conservationist for sea turtles, co-founding the Billion Baby Turtles Project with the goal of saving one billion baby sea turtles,  which are currently endangered and on the decline. He also founded Blue Mind Collective, which he hopes will bring together his ideas of water conservation and neuroscience.


You can read more about Dr. Nichols and his interesting research at:

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