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INSPIRE #239: How Water Can Soothe, Heal & Transform Your Life!

Dr. Wallace J Nichols Ocean Researcher from Men’s Health & Outside Magazine Shares the Healing, Soothing & Transformative Power of Water & the Blue Mind plus Sea Turtles & Blue Marbles!

Listen to the podcast below!




If you’ve ever felt drawn to water, whether seaside views, spending time at the like, swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, showering, or just about anything else having to do with water, then do we have the H2O loving show for you!

Today I’ll be talking with Dr. Wallace “J.” Nichols, called “Keeper of the Sea” by GQ Magazine and “a visionary” by Outside Magazine and is the best-selling author of Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.

And that’s what we’ll be talking about today, about our connection with the water, and how it can help us all feel better, live better, and have healthier, happier lives.

That plus we’ll talk about a million dollar fish, a slow coast, spear guns and Ohio, blue marbles, one billion baby turtles, a sea-turtle shaped ring, and what pop tarts and Tchaikovsky have to do with anything!

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Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, called “Keeper of the Sea” by GQ Magazine and “a visionary” by Outside Magazine is an innovative, silo-busting, entrepreneurial scientist, movement maker, renown marine biologist, voracious Earth and idea explorer, wild water advocate, bestselling author, sought after lecturer, and fun-loving Dad. He also likes turtles (a lot).

His experiences as a field research scientist, government consultant, founder and director of numerous businesses and nonprofit organizations, teacher, mentor, parent, and advisor all support his quest to build a stronger and more diverse blue movement.

Formerly a Senior Scientist at Ocean Conservancy, Nichols holds a B.A. degree from DePauw University in Biology and Spanish, an M.E.M. degree in Natural Resource Economics and Policy from Duke University, and a in Wildlife Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona. He received both a Marshall Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship. In 2010 he delivered the commencement address at DePauw University where he also received an honorary doctorate in science. In 2014 he received the University of Arizona’s Global Acheivement Award.

He has authored more than 200 scientific papers, technical reports, book chapters, and popular publications; lectured in more than 30 countries; and appeared in hundreds of print, film, radio and television media outlets including CBS, NPR, BBC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet, Time, Newsweek, GQ, Outside Magazine, Elle, Vogue, Fast Company, Surfer Magazine, Scientific American and New Scientist, among others.

His research interests span ocean and aquatic ecosystems, migratory species, marine protected areas, fisheries management, and plastic pollution with special emphasis on building new of action networks, sometimes connecting so-called enemies in creative solutions.

He takes a slow, collaborative approach with leaders in businesses, government, non-profits, and academia to inspire a deeper connection with nature and inventive approaches to pressing issues ranging from supplies of fresh water to hospice care for our aging population.

His current focus is on what he refers to as Blue Mind, a powerful new universal story of water. In this story society accurately describes all of the physical, ecological, economic, cognitive, emotional, psychological, and social benefits of healthy oceans and waterways. By connecting neuroscientists and psychologists with aquatic experts and artists to ask and answer exciting new questions his work is transforming many sectors, including: health and well-being; education and parenting; arts, architecture and design; real estate and urban planning; travel and leisure; and sports and recreation. His book Blue Mind, published in summer 2014 by Little, Brown & Company, quickly became a national bestseller and has been translated to numerous languages and inspired a wave of media and practical application.

J. knows that inspiration comes sometimes through adventures, or simply by walking and talking. Other times through writing, images, and art. Science and knowledge can also stoke our fires. But he also knows that what really moves people is feeling part of and touching something bigger than ourselves. At every turn he encourages people to disconnect from the grid and reconnect with themselves, those they love, and the special places they care most about.

His research, expeditions, and work as a guide have taken him to coasts and waterways across North, Central and South America, to Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe where he continually finds that the emotional connection to waters of all kinds–rather than force or financial gain–is what keeps his colleagues and collaborators working hard to understand and restore our blue planet.

J. is currently a Research Associate at California Academy of Sciences and co-founder of Ocean Revolution, an international network of young ocean advocates, SEEtheWILD, a conservation travel network, Grupo Tortuguero, an international sea turtle conservation network, and The Blue Mind Fund, a global campaign to reconnect people to their waters.

He advises a motivated group of international graduate students and serves as an advisor to numerous non-profit boards and committees as part of his commitment to building a stronger, more progressive and connected blue movement.

J. lives with his partner Dana, two daughters and some cats, dogs and chickens on California’s SLOWCOAST, a rural stretch of coastal mountains where organic strawberries rule, mountain lions roam and the local motto is “In Slow We Trust”. The Nichols chose to settle down in this area after trekking the entire 1,800 kilometer coast from Oregon to Mexico. “We liked it here”, Nichols said.

To book Dr. Nichols as a speaker at your event or to organize a Blue Mind workshop for your organization, please email [email protected].

“Nichols draws on science and art, hard data and anecdote, and plenty of experience, to explain our blue mind in detail. Not just what it is, but how we can enter into this state and — perhaps most important — why we should do so.” – Washington Post


Dr. Wallace J Nichols Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter  | Instagram

“Blue Mind” song by Alexi Murdoch: 

Key Topics:

  • What happened to his father on Earth Day?
  • What showed up on his doorstep?
  • Why we are all drawn to water for special occasions and important moments
  • Why Oliver Sachs told J he had to write this book (on the science of why we love the water)
  • What it means to look down from above (like Astronaut Clayton Anderson) and see our ‘blue planet’
  • Michael and Jessica running through the snow and water barefoot:
  • Why we’re attracted to all kinds of water (gas, liquid, solid)
  • What’s the importance of Sea Turtles
  • How he’s helped save sea turtles and increase their populations
  • What is full emersion conservation (even working with poachers)
  • How serious is the environmental crisis and threats facing the ocean
  • What’s the blue marble project?
  • What’s the healing power of water
  • Why you want to take any chance to get in the water.
  • Why you want to keep your goggles and your swim trunk in your bag, always.
  • What is Red Mind and Blue Mind, and how can water and Blue Mind help with stress.
  • What’s the importance of gratitude (and prayer) for the water
  • What is J’s Mill Creek experience.
  • How he brought land-locked Native-American children to the ocean
  • How he took his daughter at 1 ½ and they walked the coast from Oregon to Mexico.
  • How much does seeing the ocean (screensavers, paintings, etc), all help soothe the mind
  • The importance of a fountain or creating wave sounds.
  • What are the synchronicities around his father

Related Podcasts:

INSPIRE #178: Make Your Brain Smarter At Any Age (Dr. Michael Merzenich, Posit Science)


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