The Psychological Effects of Water.

Water covers 75% of the Earth’s surface, and contributes 75% to the human body. It is no surprise that water has a number of positive effects on the human psyche, and has been used throughout the ages to help treat numerous diseases. Research has shown that “self-reported health correlates very well with real health” (Depledge, The Guardian). It has been found that the closer somebody lives to the English coast, the healthier they are.

The psychological effects are not dependent on the ocean alone however. Other aquatic environments have an effect on our psyche as well, such as rivers, lakes and even aquariums. The term “Blue Mind” has been used to describe the state of “water-associated peace”. This refers to the predictability and serenity of a body of water, and how the brain is allowed to relax when saturated with such scenes.

It makes sense. When we stare into water and observe its repetitiveness and controlled nature, when something unpredicted happens such as a disturbance on the surface, there is a “sense of surprise and novelty”. This results in  a pleasurable dose of dopamine: a neurotransmitter present in the brain which controls the pleasure centre.

Water stays the same, yet changes simultaneously creating a novel yet familiar experience when we look at it. It is “regularity without monotony”, allowing for extensive observation without boredom. The brains default network becomes activated, which is essential to creativity and problem solving.

The psychological effects of water have directly inspired this project, and have informed my style of shooting. To possess a “Blue Mind” is like existing in a dream like meditative state, with a balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

J.

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