With summer just around the corner, our children will enjoy so many fun outdoor activities, and many of them will involve water. Did you know that science has found that being in and around water can calm our bodies and minds? Wouldn’t you love to be able to calm your children using something as simple and available as water? Here are three ways that water can help your children relax this summer and throughout the year.
Have you ever lost yourself in the beauty of the ocean, a flowing waterfall, or even an aquarium? You are certainly not alone. Water is known to give us a sense of peace and serenity. In fact, medical studies have found less cortisol (the stress hormone) and more serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine (the feel-good hormones) in people as they spend time in, on, or around the ocean.
When we’re around water, our brain becomes engaged in our environment and we enjoy pleasant sensory stimulation. We become so focused on the water that we enter a mindful state. As a result, we enjoy lower stress levels; relief from anxiety, pain, and depression; improved mental clarity and focus; and better sleep.
Water also inspires a sense of awe, as we take in the vastness of the ocean or swim in a large lake. These experiences make us aware of and appreciate our place in this immense world. Such awe-inspiring experiences boost our mood, making us feel happier and calmer.
Water also provides soothing sounds that help us feel calm, as evidenced by all the relaxation and sleep aids that use sounds of water – whether it be crashing waves, the pitter patter of rainfall, or the rush of a flowing river.
Why does the sound of water cause this reaction? Studies show that it’s based on how our brain interprets different noises. These slow, rhythmic whooshing sounds are non-threatening, which is why they calm us down. Also, the sound of water is a type of white noise that helps drown out other noises that might cause us concern.
Find ways to expose your children to awe-inspiring water scenes and sounds, such as:
- Plan trips where you can visit impressive water sights like Niagara Falls, the turquoise sea in the Caribbean, waterfalls in Hawaii, and the Great Lakes.
- Visit marine nature centres and aquariums.
- Spend time at the beach and encourage your children to express how the scene makes them feel in creative ways like writing, painting, or singing about it.
- Go fishing or on a boat ride or cruise.
- Listen to water sounds to calm your children at bedtime.