“We are doing a POSITIVE ACTION”, I explained to my 18-year-old son. We began to discuss the benefits of focusing on the “positive actions, positive interactions, positive thought patterns and positive purposes” that I promote in my hypnotherapy practice. When our mind is full of the positive aspects in our lives, we have no capacity or inclination to dwell on the negative details. Practising searching for the positives in our lives helps to create new neural pathways, feel happiness, and find a peaceful way of being. I was taking my son back to University, and we decided to make a day of it by visiting the Welsh waterfall country park on the way. It had been an eventful Christmas and I was desperate for a moment of quiet.
I am always drawn to moving water. It feels so peaceful. The motion creates a place where my mind can be still. When my gaze is unable to stop on one single droplet, I feel an inner calm where I can just soak in tranquillity.
My son is studying Chemistry at Cardiff. Struggling with my “simplistic” explanation of waterfall joy, he decided to give me a scientific theory. He has such a wonderful way of explaining things. Normally anything too scientific sends me spinning into confusion, but he explained the science of colliding water particles so I could understand how they might be creating the feelings of calm and happiness I was feeling.
I’d like to try and explain this science to you as simply as my son did for me:
All matter is composed of many many ATOMS.
All atoms have equal amounts of ELECTRONS and PROTONS.
When an atom gains or loses electrons, it has an uneven number of protons and electrons. This is now a charged particle known as an ION.
When the atom loses an electron, it becomes a positively charged ion (a CATION).
When the atom gains an electron, it becomes a negatively charged ion (an ANION).
Waterfalls and waves crashing on a beach are perfect examples of natural oxygen molecules colliding with each other. The neutrally charged water droplets break apart creating negatively charged ions.
Studies find that our world is stuffed with positive ions which are created by phenomena like electricity and pollution. Positive ions can affect our mental and physical health by making us feel tired, stressed, and depressed. Researchers have found that being surrounded by negative ions can help to improve mental health and wellbeing.
Pierce J Howard PhD concluded that negative ions increase oxygen to the brain, improving alertness and physical and mental energy. They Improve the autonomic nerves, skin collagen, metabolism, and immune system (Dr Arudoman). Negative ions speed up oxygen passing into our bloodstream, tissues, and cells, and oxidation of serotonin, which boosts our mood (John Heinerman PhD). They reduce neurohormone serotonin, which causes sleeplessness and nightmares (Soyka 1991) creating better sleep quality. The US Department of Agriculture is quoted as saying that negative ions help to clear the air of pollutants, dust, and bacteria.
However, it's worth noting that a metastudy in the National Library of Medicine (NLM) has stated that “some of the results need to be further verified, some references might overestimate its benefits, and no consistent or reliable evidence in therapeutic effects were achieved.”. So, the jury is out. I am not an expert, but I DO know that being near crashing water made me feel wonderful, calm, and refreshed.
Was it science? Was it doing a positive action? Was the feeling due to taking time out of my busy life to witness nature? Was it magic? Or was it just hanging out with my son? What do you think?
I do know it was definitely worth doing, my feelings of happiness were very real, and my soul is still smiling!
Fleur Demeranville Dash