The question of why we are attracted to water may be a bit obvious for some. However, we all too often take water for granted. It is, for the most part, easily accessible and abundant. We are connected to water in so many ways. In fact, we are as humans on average 75 percent water. The earths surface is 70 percent water. This investigation of why we are attracted to water is, in part, preparation for an upcoming presentation on water and horticultural therapy.
We ARE attracted to water, that is obvious. Whether it is a lake, ocean or a man made water feature, we feel compelled to interact on some level. All of our senses are heightened and respond in different ways. The smell of ozone when it rains or the melodic sounds of waves crashing on the beach are just a few of the reactions water elicits. Who is not interested in a water pistol fight on a hot summer’s day. Watch children (and those still young at heart) who cannot resist playing in a fountain.
A preliminary search of current literature and research findings indicate that there are emotional responses caused when water touches our skin, much like someone holding our hand. When someone holds our hand, the brain releases the hormone Oxytocin, which promotes a feeling of devotion and trust. The Orbital Front Cortex of the brain responds to sweet tastes and pleasant odors. The smell of the air when it begins to rain or the salt spray from the ocean can trigger a positive emotional response.
The next time you pass a water fountain in a park or shopping mall, stop and pay attention. How does it make you feel? What are the reactions experienced by others. Do you or others have a tendency to touch the water. Does the sound of the running water as it splashes onto the hard surface make you slow down and watch? Your blood pressure should be reduced and hopefully a sense of calm may be present, even for a short while. Begin to make a mental note of these reactions.