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The power of water

 Many people find themselves exhausted, burned out, and struggling to build a balance within their lives, including senior citizens. They feel the need to recharge. Water can help. Neuroscientists say that spending time, near oceans, lakes, rivers, and other blue spaces can provide a range of benefits, including reducing anxiety, easing mental fatigue, and rejuvenating us. 

 Bodies of water can also produce a glorious sense of awe, which is the emotional response to something vast that expands and challenges how people see the world. The sense of awe can decrease stress and help someone put things into perspective.

 Water naturally relaxes people and helps them focus their thoughts by taking away all the noise. Psychologists say when someone is near water there is often less visual and auditory noise information for their brain to process. The sound of water typically is steady and soft, can sooth someone. Its’ smell can provoke positive memories and associations of happier times. 

 When you’re floating in the water, your bodies can rest too in a way they never can on land. Most important, water is dynamic; it moves rhythmically producing a play of light color and sound that is mesmerizing. It holds someone’s attention, but not in an overly demanding way and that is why researchers call this “soft fascination.” It gives someone’s brain a break from the intense focus cognitively, depleting attention that much of daily life requires these days. Therefore, water helps your mind wander positively and that’s why it can be so restorative. 

 Here’s some advice on how to harness the healing power of water for seniors.

 The Tri-City area is so close to water, it is a great place to start. Then branch out to water that can be visited on a day trip or even on the weekend. Remember all water counts! From rivers, lakes, and canals, to fountains, pools, bathtubs, or sprinklers. Pay attention to the sights and sounds and the movement to feel the stress of the day fall by the wayside. 

 For someone who can’t get to actual water, they can even look at photographs of places they have visited or vacation videos, as this can produce some of the same benefits. Even virtual reality can help. Studies have proved that computer-generated water scenes can boost a person’s mood. Or maybe invest in an aquarium, scientist have also found that people who gaze into aquariums have a lower heart rate and better mood just after 15 minutes.

 Remember, a little bit makes a big difference. A 2019 study found that it takes at least two hours a week in nature to improve well-being, although that time can be broken into smaller stretches. 

 Time can be spent on the water in a lot of places in the Tri-City area or someone can visit anytime in your mind. Sit back in your most comfy chair and visualize the sun sparkling on its surface or the sound of its waves lapping against the shoreline. What’s even better is when the water is a place someone has enjoyed in real life, the positive effects will be even stronger because of the memories it invokes.

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