I’m going to stray off the reservation a bit with this post. I’m going to focus on neuroscience!
Wait, wait, wait…don’t turn the channel. I think you’ll dig this.
It’s actually not much of a stray. Neuroscience and the Outer Banks?! I know, seems strange, but there may actually be a very strong connection. In the end, if you can stick with me through the build-up, I think you’ll see that the focus of the post is actually close to the heart of all OBX lovers.
In December, I came across an interesting article in Outside magazine that caught my interest. The article is probably the best overview that I could give of these ideas, so I won’t try to recreate the whole story. I’ll give a quick intro, but the article is well worth a full read.
The subject of the article (the cover story, by the way) is a PHD biologist, Wallace “J” Nichols. J has a specialty with sea turtles, but he has recently adjusted his focus to studying the neuroscience behind the positive effects the ocean has on everyone that comes into contact with it.
The basic gist of the message is that the ocean can make us (all) happy – and there is MIT caliber neuroscience that can help prove this theory.
J refers to these ideas as having a “Blue Mind.”
Hmmm. Well, that seems to make immediate intuitive sense to me. As I mentioned in my story of Outer Banks Everyday Magic, I spent a few years of my life moving from place to place on the hunt for something, and it turned out that “something” was a need to be at the ocean, a need to be in the water, preferably surfing, as much as I possibly could. And I can’t think of a better place to fill this need than the Outer Banks.
Really, all of our OBX Everyday Magic stories make this exact case.
And my guess is that the Blue Mind ideas make intuitive sense to just about all of the vacationers that save all year, and spend hours in the car driving, to enjoy their Outer Banks beach vacation. Those sacrifices are made because the Outer Banks fills us with joy. At the most basic level, the beach and the ocean make us happier, and in turn healthier, people.
We love the ocean, the beach, the waves, the wildlife, and everything that makes the OBX so special. We cross that bridge, smell the fresh salt air, catch our first glimpse of the ocean, and our happiness neurons are activated!
Clearly, an OBX lover has a Blue Mind.
But if it makes such basic, intuitive sense, how can this be “cutting edge” science? It seems obvious.
But maybe it’s the obvious parts of our lives that go unnoticed for so long.
This is “cutting edge” science because J is the first person to bring this theory forward, and amazingly, he is having trouble getting people to jump at the opportunity to fund research to prove the theories.
After reading the article, I contacted J and had a chance to talk with him at length. J spent some of his schooling at the Duke Marine Lab and loves the Outer Banks. We hit it off immediately.
After our initial conversation, J and I have stayed in contact with one another, and we have been discussing some very cool ideas focused on the Outer Banks. Stayed tuned for more awesomeness to come.
The OBX has such a strong connection to the Blue Mind ideas that I feel obligated by every fiber of my ocean-loving being to help J spread this message.
I’ve been digesting this information since December, so I’ll stop rambling and let you catch up….in a minute. :) Below are a few links I’ll share for further info, and here’s a quick synopsis:
- The ocean is the largest feature on planet Earth.
- Our brain is the most powerful and complex “computer” we know of.
- Imagine the possibilities when we leverage that Blue Mind connection.
- A happier, healthier world that does everything in its power to conserve the resources that make us happy and healthy…what an amazing feedback loop!
Let’s start the Blue Mind revolution right here on the Outer Banks. Who’s with me?!
One last thing before I turn you loose on the super rad links below. It is probably pretty clear by this post that I’m passionate about these ideas and believe whole-heartedly in the message. Well, that passion does not stop with me. It translates all the way through Seaside Vacations. As a company, we are happy to help make 2012 the start of the Blue Mind revolution on the OBX. Stayed tuned for more great Blue Mind info, but to start, we are putting our money where our mouth is.
As part of his Blue Mind message, J has started www.BlueMarbles.org, which is a fun way to promote the ideas by sharing Blue Marbles – the Earth looks like a blue marble from space…there’s a whole lotta ocean on this planet! The blue marbles help to draw people’s awareness, and gratitude, towards the oceans.
All 2012 reservations with Seaside Vacations will be receiving one of J’s Blue Marbles at check-in to help spread the message and give us all a small reminder to be mindful of the amazing world we live in.
Spread the message, and let’s make 2012 the beginning of the Blue Mind revolution on the OBX.
J ends his emails with this simple phrase, and it seems very fitting now – “Live like you love the ocean.”
Here are three pieces of media that will give you a good overview of the Blue Mind ideas:
- Here’s a video that Nautica created discussing J and his Blue Mind ideas
- Blue Marbles – great way to spread the Blue Mind message
- Outside magazine cover story: