While it’s important to keep our bodies in sound health, some of us can get lost in the our hectic day-to-day activities and overlook taking care of our mental health – which is just as important as taking care of the physical.
In recent years, new studies may have just given you your next excuse to take a trip to the beach.
The calming sounds of the ocean, the salt in the air, and the sand between your toes may have more emphasis on our well-being than we thought. Heard of Vitamin Sea? Well, it’s actually a very real thing.
According to an analysis of English census data published in Health Place, those who live near the coast report better physical and mental health than those who don’t.
In addition to the sound and soothing salt-smells, studies show that different colors we see create different emotional, psychological, and physical effects. Just like the ocean, surrounding yourself in the color blue can create calmness, lower stress, and can even lower blood pressure.
What about the calming sounds of the waves repeated over and over again? For myself, I’ve been known to fall asleep to my ocean wave sound machine. Even though it’s meditative sounds can be relaxing, the noises are actually activating your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps slow the mind down, the body relax, and helps us to feel more at peace, says Sally Nazari, PsyD.
“It’s Deeply Personal – But It’s Also Strong Science”
Additionally, as soon as you step out onto the sand, your brain may be receiving benefits.The negative ions in the ocean air can accelerate your lungs to absorb the oxygen your breathing in, ultimately balancing your serotonin, melatonin, and tryptamine levels – which can help boost energy and fight off depression. According to American research engineer, in 1932 Dr. Clarence Hansell noticed that the mood of one of his colleagues changed in response to the type of ions he was around. Another study published in the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine noted that negative ion therapy could be potentially used to treat seasonal effective disorder.
It appears there’s more to the being by the ocean than we thought. According to marine biologist and author of Blue Mind, Wallace Nichols, “There are all these cognitive and emotional benefits that we derive every time we spend time by water. Once you get into it, you realize that it’s chemistry, it’s biology, it’s physiology. It’s deeply personal but it’s also strong science.”