Almost everyone finds the sound of waves combined with cool water in the Caribbean sun refreshing, but can there be more to this?
Research finds that spending time by the ocean is pretty good for your wellbeing. In fact, according to an analysis of English census data published in the journal Health Place, persons who live by the coast report better physical and mental health than those who don’t. That incredible feeling of peace and calmness you experience at the beach is now being called “the blue space.”
Here’s how the beach affects you.
1. THE SOUND OF WAVES
The crashing of the waves and constant flowing you hear is just as impactful. “It kind of de-stimulates our brains,” says Richard Shuster, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and host of The Daily Helping podcast. . The noises — coupled with the visuals — activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is “responsible for slowing us down and allowing us to relax and feel more engaged,” says Sally Nazari, PsyD, owner of Chrysalis Psychological Services and host of the podcast Beyond the Couch.
2. THE WATER
Water is nature’s cure to life’s stressors. It is made up of naturally occurring positive ions that have the ability to make you feel at ease. Whether you simply walk along the coastline or jump in for a swim- you are sure to experience a feeling of relaxation.
3. THE SMELL OF THE OCEAN AIR
The smell of the ocean breeze also contributes to your soothed state, which may have something to do with the negative ions in the air that you’re breathing in. These oxygen atoms have an extra electron and occur in places like waterfalls and the ocean, says Shuster. A study published in the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine suggests that negative ion therapy could be used to treat symptoms of a seasonal affective disorder.
4. WALKING ON THE SAND
Even the simple act of touching the sand makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. “The physical sensation of putting your feet in warm sand causes people to relax,”
5. THE BEACH BOOSTS YOUR CREATIVITY
Finally, the beach is one of the best ways to get out of a creative block. Being in ‘blue space’ allows you to clear your head and approach both problems and projects in a creative way. Often a part of meditative therapy, the beach triggers a sense of calm and helps you to reflect on the things that matter.
So, grab some SPF and pack a bag - it’s time to head to the beach!