Photo by Tom Gainor on Unsplash

Why I Struggle to Live in Places Without Bodies of Water

Growing up in San Diego, water was something I took for granted. It was the backdrop to every important moment in my life. My best childhood memories are at the beach, and then there were teenage bonfires and romantic walks. I had no idea what life would be like without a nearby water source. I was blissfully ignorant. Couldn’t be that bad, right?

So, when I got an amazing job offer in Tucson, I jumped at the chance to experience a new city. I was young and wide-eyed, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Now, I want to be clear that I’m not knocking Tucson (or any other landlocked city). There are great qualities to this city, and I’d be happy there if not for the lack of water.

I ended up living in a landlocked city for three years, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not for me. Here are some of the reasons why I will always struggle to live in places without bodies of water.

Water promotes a sense of calm

When I lived by the water, I never really recognized it as a coping mechanism. But whenever I was feeling stressed, I instinctively took a trip to the beach. I later learned that there’s a strong link between the ocean and your mental health. Just sitting amongst the waves as they crash into the shore has a calming effect. I can say from personal experience that there’s a reason why people listen to ocean sounds when they want to calm down. It works.

Over the years, I’ve found all bodies of water are relaxing. It’s not just about the sounds. Sitting near a body of smooth water also has a calming effect. When you focus on the serene setting in front of you, it just seems silly to stress over material things.

Studies also back this up. One study found that simply being around water can increase the brain’s dopamine levels. Additionally, surfing has been found to reduce symptoms of PTSD in veterans.

You’ll find the best seafood along the shores

There are many reasons why someone would move to Tucson. I can tell you with certainty that tuna isn’t one of them. I was quite spoiled living near the ocean. I grew up exclusively eating fresh-caught seafood. You don’t quite get the same experience in a landlocked state. It’s like growing up in Maine and eating lobster in Kansas. It’s so different that it’s almost another food group entirely.

The benefits of living near water will be true for everyone (unless you have an extreme fear of water). But not everyone feels the draw so deeply in their soul. If you’re living in a landlocked state without regular access to a lake or river, you may want to try something new. You can pack it up and move to the coast, or try adding soothing water sounds to your nightly routine. You may be surprised at how it helps.

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Written by Rachel O'Conner

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