My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There’s only one way to read a book that touts the benefits of water: IN the water. It took me a little longer to get through this book because I literally read the entire thing while either floating or sitting in water. Why? Let’s see…
“As children we delight in water. As we grow older, water also becomes the matrix for sport, relaxation, and romance.” As the author Wallace J. Nichols points out, water enlarges the price tag of property as well as increases the anxiety level of when our waterways are threatened (oil spills, etc.) But really, we all know we love water, right? Nichols takes it deeper than that.
The author does well to express our love of the water through examples of art, literature, and pop culture. He further shows how our bodies react to water stimuli through the science of EEGs, MRIs, and fMRIs. We the readers are witness to examples of how hospitals improve recovery times, Veterans with PTSD are soothed, and how our bodies recuperate. “Even indirect exposure to water has recuperative power,” as the author writes.
Nichols continues by discussing recently favorited topics of mine: neuroplasticity, happiness, and wellness. I’m reminded of Thich Nhat Hanh’s teaching about mindfully washing the dishes, “There are two ways to wash the dishes. The first is to wash the dishes in order to have clean dishes and the second is to wash the dishes in order to wash the dishes.” Each of these daily experiences will better your life: to notice the water running over your washing hands; to drink mindfully a cup of water; to stop and stare, appreciating any vista of water you happen across.
In the long run, why is it worthy to learn the benefits of water? Not only are we bettered personally, but we are sparked to action. We care. As the author writes, “Let it heal you and make you a better, stronger version of yourself.”
Thanks to Goodreads and Little, Brown for sending me this book through their giveaway contest.
One more quote featured in Nichols’s book: “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” – W.H. Auden
You can find this book’s preview and other reviews on Amazon: 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
Or, you can swim on over to the independent Powell’s: