In a natural environment on or near water, there is a degree of predictability, unlike a busy road, a body of water like a canal remains constant from one moment to the next. This backdrop around us stays in a controlled state, which allows parts of our brain to relax.
Maybe this is the reason why so much scientific research shows that being near to water promotes better mental and physical well being. It slows our heartbeat and reduces stress hormones.
Wallace J Nichols, an inspirational marine biologist refers to water associated peace as “Blue Mind” in contrast to the state of “Red Mind” which predominates our busy day to day lives. He suggests the canal’s water changes and stays the same simultaneously, we feel both soothing familiarity and stimulating novelty when we look at it. This provides regularity without monotony, the perfect recipe for triggering a state of involuntary attention. When our brain notices a disturbance on the surface of the water (for example the ripple made be a fish or a duck swimming), there is a sense of surprise and novelty which is accompanied by a pleasurable hit of dopamine. This state is the main characteristic of “Blue Mind”
Nichols, W J (2018) Blue Mind. London: Little, Brown Book Group Publications
With this in mind why not take some time for yourself to slow down and escape for a while. Do something different and learn a new skill. Forget your phone and have a water based outdoor adventure whilst enjoying a close-up view of nature. Try the ultimate glamping staycation with a narrowboat shortbreak. With a narrowboat experience you can be indoors in the outdoors if the diverse British weather is not so sunny. Your boat is cosy and fully equipped with everyting you need, making it easy to self cater. You might also enjoy a leisurely pub lunch or a waterside barbecue on a warm summer evening and nobody needs to drive home!
The Basingstoke Canal flows along between the tiny village of Greywell in Hampshire and on to Woking in Surrey. It passes through trees, farmland, fields, lakes and flashes and is full of wildlife. You can take a peek at some beautiful waterside houses and gardens as you gently cruise along. Essentially this type of holiday offers you a chance to relax and take life at a slower pace but with the added interest of boats and water.
Why not browse some dates here and begin planning your narrowboat break.