It’s pretty obvious here at Watershed we love being on/around/near/under/or in the water. It’s literally part of our name. Although, we’ve created the best way to shed the water from your personal items, humans have thrived near water for thousands of years. But have you ever wondered what causes humans to be so drawn to it? Let’s find out!
Our Brains Love It
Supposedly when humans separated from apes and began to carve our own path, we began to cultivate around rivers and oceans for the life giving water. We also started grubbing out on tasty aquatic creatures that were filled with Omega 3 fatty acids that promote brain growth. In fact, our brain growth increased dramatically when we came out of the forests and started hanging on the beaches and by the rivers. It’s even been shown that people with a diet including more marine life are less likely to suffer from depression. It makes sense that eating a pile a crab legs or cracking into a giant lobster tail does indeed make one quite happy! Our brains have been intrinsically connected to the seas and water ever since.
Water Calms Us
Anyone who spends time on the water can tell you it makes them feel calm. Life for humans can often feel stagnant if we are not near the water for long periods of time. This can cause us to lose desk jobs and relationships because we’re always leaving early to paddle, or calling in “sick” when the river is up and it’s 70 degrees outside. People who live near water report they feel less stress and depression as compared to those who live in busy cities. When humans are around water we get a break from the constant ‘going’ of our day-to-day. Water even slows our brainwaves down to a more calm and meditative state, and supposedly we can tune our waves more closely to the rhythm of water. Essentially, water lets us relax and realize the big picture of life rather than the little small stuff we sweat over.
It Calls to Us
You can make up all kinds of excuses for why you need to go paddling today to get you out of something you don’t really want to do. “I stubbed my toe, and now I’m stressed…gotta go kayaking!”. We’ll come up with just about any excuse to answer the call of the river that we feel deep down inside us. From a scientific standpoint, this isn’t completely untrue. Our bodies are composed of up to 60% water, and perhaps these huge bodies of water are pulling on us. They say that people go nuts during the full moon because the moon affects the water on earth, including the tides and in our bodies. Like ET being called home to the mothership, when the river answers I must heed her call!
After a killer day of paddling, we feel tired yes…but also alive. It’s as if the wolf or grizzly bear inside us can sleep for a while until we get the urge again. Humans experience profound psychological effects from water that elevate our moods, reduces stress, and improves our concentration, thinking and memory. Author Wallace Nichols has even written a book on the topic called Blue Mind that explores the science of why we are happier near water and how it affects us. Studies have shown that people’s stress levels drop when they are exposed to water sounds like the ocean, rivers or creeks. This is often why many people enjoy sleeping with sound machines at night. Soothing sounds of Class IV whitewater are enough to put any of us around here right to sleep.
Water Is Just Plain Fun
Unless you had a bad childhood run in with the water, or perhaps a bad swim one day, most of us associate the water with happy memories. The smell of chlorine or hose water in the summer time is a huge connection to memory and will bring them flooding back. Even the stink of our river clothes drying on the line is enough to send us packing up the truck again to head back out to the watery mothership. While all the scientific things are happening to your brain and your body when you’re around the water, it’s easy for us to just chalk it up to hey…this is fun! We crave moments where we can really be ourselves and be in the moment and forget about everything else for a few. Our time spent on the water, paddling through the water or swimming under the water gives us those tranquil moments we need to live as happy human beings.
So we have learned that eating seafood makes us smarter, it’s ok for us to say the river is calling us home because it’s true, and that the calm we feel when we’re on the river is a combination of science and river magic. Feed your brain and body and head back out for adventure ASAP!