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.

Wallace J. Nichols (2014)

A wonderful book describing our relationship with water, in all it’s forms and the effect this has on our (blue) minds.  A relaxing read, yet grounded in solid research in science and the arts.  Neuroscience is introduced in a gentle and accessible way, and terms such as “medial prefrontal cortex”, are woven into the narrative so that the reader may choose to either learn a great deal about the workings of the brain or skim past them and continue to follow the story.

A full range of water-based activity is covered, from sitting at the water’s edge to diving in completely, and all are equally recognized for their benefits and the impact on participants: 

“…listen to what white-water rafters and kayakers or swimmers or surfers or divers say about water, and you will hear┬áthe language of people who are in love with, if not addicted to, their sport or profession.”

– Wallace J. Nichols

 Most represented are swimming and surfing.  Although the section specific to scuba-diving is only a couple of pages, the book contains a vast range of concepts that are relevant to the psychology of diving, such as: the therapeutic effects of being in water, pressure and emotion, neurological aspects of behaviour such as addiction or and cognitive processes such as attention and the impact of stress on brain and behaviour.  

Overall, a pleasant read that will elucidate concepts we are intuitively aware of and offers a detailed introduction to the neuroscience and psychology, that can be useful in “dry life” as well as in diving.