Being born in Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, I’ve always had an affinity towards the ocean and water in general. Anytime I’m feeling stressed or contemplative, I feel drawn towards a body of water - whether that be a lake, ocean, or river. Similar to clouds, bodies of water offer opportunities for me to see different shapes and patterns, helping untangle whatever problems my mind is currently grappling with.

My intuitive pull to the water was later validated after reading the book Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols, in which he described the following positive effects of being near water: “lower stress and anxiety, increasing an overall sense of well-being and happiness, a lower heart and breathing rate”. Nichols also coined the term Blue Mind, which refers to the mildly meditative state that we fall into when we’re near, in, on, or underwater. Countless studies have since validated this view, showing that spending time near water is essential to achieving an elevated and sustained happiness.

The smell of the sea air has also been shown to be a great antidote for Seasonal Affective Disorder, according to the Journal of Alternative Commentary Medicine. This is due to the negative ions, which are molecules that we inhale which are in abundance in environments like beaches and waterfalls. One hypothesis is that once the negative ions reach our bloodstream, they produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of serotonin helping to relieve stress and boost our energies.

This is partly why I’ve always prioritized living near water. Being able to swim, hear the waves, and watch the endless patterns in the waves will always be a point of fascination for me.