The human body uses water in so many ways: carrying and distributing nutrients to cells; removing toxins and waste; regulating body temperature; acting as a shock absorber for your eyes and spinal cord; and others. Water also plays a significant role in the function of the brain — contributing to not just function, but mental and emotional health.
Many students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology become interested in the field of psychology because of a strong desire to promote mental wellness. Assumption course PSY 230 – Positive Psychology: Psychology of Well-being explores contemporary research in positive psychology, neuroscience, and how things like mindfulness and meditation, positive emotions and traits, and humor impact well-being.
Psychologists and scientists are finding that these kinds of positive psychological effects can be cultivated with exposure to bodies of water — something surfers, fishermen and swimmers have always known. (Or anybody who has ever sat near the Assumption duck pond.)
The high degree of predictability that comes with a natural environment like a body of water (and unlike a busy city) provides a relaxing environment for the brain. Simultaneously, splashes or ripples — things that disturb the water’s surface — bring a bit of surprise to the water, which stimulates the brain and releases dopamine, the happy chemical, according to neuroscientist Michael Merzenich, Ph.D.
Spending time around, in and under water is good for us. Watching the ocean, going swimming, taking a bath, going fishing, even having a fish bowl can be good for your mental health.
It’s also important to drink water. The effects of dehydration can be detrimental, and even mild dehydration can affect attention, perception, psychomotor abilities, and memory.