Massive amounts of money are spent by people vying to live near the water—and with good reason. Being near water makes us feel good, and this is not just an anecdotal observation. Research is unveiling the neurocognitive effects of being near water. One study showed that, compared to other urban and mountain environments, people tended to perceive an exercise session as shorter than it really was, and would be more willing to exercise when it was in a coastal environment.1
The Health Benefits of Being Near Water
Recovery is a time of restoration. It’s a time for regaining good health, and being near water can help. People turn to water for a sense of calm and clarity. The sounds of running water are often associated with meditation, a key recovery tool for relaxing and relieving stress.2 When you’re near the water in recovery, simply being surrounded by the sounds of water helps you let go and relax.
Being near water provides a variety of other health benefits you can enjoy when in recovery. People respond to the calming, inspiring and even healing effects of water. Chronic psychological stress contributes significantly to the development of an addiction, inhibits recovery and interferes with decision-making processes; being near the water in recovery as an integral part of treatment can help relieve this stress.
The Visual Effects of Being Near Water
The ocean has a sparkling, undulating surface that is visually soothing. It’s not marred by buildings or landmarks, so it’s naturally calming to us. The sea is also awe-inspiring in its vastness and depth, which can affect our perception of time or how we feel about ourselves and others. These perception changes are essential to long-lasting recovery.
Water and Addiction Recovery Centers
Being near water can help you gain deeper insights into your life, and this is especially important when you’re in addiction recovery. One study reported that participants expressed strong and long-lasting connections to the local coastline, with different coastal areas catering to different therapeutic needs.3
These findings point to a confirmation of the shared emotional, deeply seated connections that people have to coastal locations. The fluid and dynamic characteristics of a coastline near a recovery center can offer valuable therapeutic experiences.
The Water Connection
While research is still delving into exactly why we feel such a strong connection to the ocean, it may simply be that our bodies are 70 percent water. Our bodies and brains are essentially filled with water just as the oceans are, so being close to the coastline may create and strengthen a primal connection to our meditative and contemplative brain that helps addiction recovery in ways other settings are not able to provide.
When you’re choosing an addiction recovery center, there’s a strong case to be made for choosing one near the ocean. It’s not only for the beauty that an ocean view gives, but it’s also for the tremendous benefits in relaxation, stress relief and therapeutic insights and connections that won’t be found in other environmental settings.