Science Says This is What Being Near The Ocean Actually Does To Your Brain
The thought of the ocean already brings us a sense of peace and serenity. There is something magical about it. But What it does to us biologically? Keep reading to find out!
The ocean across the coastline with waves. A beautiful lake shining in the early morning mist. Or a dark pool at the bottom of a waterfall. What do they have in common? They are all nature’s remarkable soothers.
We all know by intuition that being near the ocean is good for our health and wellbeing. And now, science can demonstrate how the ocean can inspire creative and compassionate thinking and help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Wallace J. Nichols, a scientist, and marine biologist wrote a book about it called 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
In the book, he explains: “We have a ‘blue mind’ — and it’s perfectly tailored to make us happy in all sorts of ways that go way beyond relaxing in the surf, listening to the murmur of a stream, or floating quietly in a pool.”
Blue Mind is said to be a mild, meditative state. It’s described as a place of calmness, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life at that moment. It is stimulated by water and elements associated with water, from the color blue to the words we use to describe the sensations related to immersion.
To experience this state, you simply need to sit near water and contemplate it. Doing it can help induce a relaxed state in which the brain get relaxed but yet focused.
Wallace J. Nichols did numerous TEDx Talks on the topic, and he explained that water holds enormous emotional, cognitive, social and psychological benefits.
He continues: “Nature is medicine – a walk on the beach; a surfing session; a stroll through the woods heals us. It fixes what’s broken inside of us. Nature can reduce our stress, and it can make us more creative and bring us together.”
Nichols also talks about the sense of wonder we experience when we step out onto the beach towards the water — a familiar feeling confirmed by his remarkable research.
He says: “This sense of awe moves us from a ‘me’ to a ‘we’ perspective. Awe and wonder, and passion takes over in water. There is a feeling of connection to others and something beyond the immediate.”
Now you can understand why people seem to choose to celebrate many significant life events such as ceremonies near the ocean. And why many people dream to retire at the seaside.
At the University of Exeter, scientists discovered that people who lived closer to the English coast lived healthier lives. The scientists studied data from 48 million people in England from the 2001 census, and they compared how happy people said they were to how close they lived to the sea.
It’s incredible that even a view of the ocean can improve a person’s mental health. Research carried out by Canterbury University, Otago University, and Michigan State University in the USA, examined the relationship between mental health and exposure to green and blue space. The blue space relates to the visibility of water. The study discovered that just being able to see the ocean already provides well-being and lower stress levels in people.
Now you understand why we feel so happy and rejuvenated when we take time away to contemplate the ocean, a waterfall, or maybe a lovely lake. If you’re feeling anxious and frustrated, try to swim in the sea or spend some time at the beach just watching the waves. It could help you feel less stressed and more relaxed yet focused.