Have you ever noticed how many times you’ve wished that you could escape to some quiet shore and just stare at the ocean? It’s no coincidence that you search for the sea when things get a bit stressful, as science proves that feeling the waves push against your ankles can do you a lot of good. Here are a few ways that clear blue waters can make you a better person.
It encourages you to relax.
Many people have an affinity for water, and interestingly, many have an attraction to the color blue. According to marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols in a feature on Huffington Post, this is because we have a “blue mind,” which is “a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment.” The sight of the sea triggers this “blue mind,” and pushes us towards a state of peace.
It quiets the brain.
Your brain needs downtime, which is why it’s important for you to get enough sleep every night. However, aside from sleep, heading to the beach and being in the water can help lessen brain stimulation. Nichols notes that this is due to the fact that when you’re by the sea, everything is simplified.
“The sound of water is far [simpler] than the sound of voices or the sound of music or the sound of a city,” says Nichols. “And the visual input is simplified. When you stand at the edge of the water and look out at the horizon, it’s visually simplified relative to the room you’re sitting in now, or a city you’re walking through, where you’re taking in millions of pieces of information every second.”
It makes you more compassionate.
As the sea relaxes you and brings you to calmer state, it also causes you to experience awe, making you more mindful about the fact that you are connected to something far bigger than you. It makes us more empathic, and as Nichols explains further, it “switches you from a ‘me’ orientation to a ‘we’ orientation… You feel connected to yourself, the world around you, and whoever you happen to be with.”
It gets you creative.
Being near the ocean switches your awareness to a different channel, so to speak, which open ups your mind to new perspectives and triggers your imagination to move beyond what you regularly see. It’s the same principle as stepping into the shower, where a lot of ideas are born. Nichols notes, “The shower is a proxy for the Pacific Ocean… You step in the shower, and you remove a lot of visual stimulation of your day… You step into the shower and it’s like a mini vacation.”
It physically heals you.
According to an article on Livestrong, sea water contains vital vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and living microorganisms that have an antibiotic and antibacterial effect. It also opens up your pores and flushes out toxin. Moreover, it helps hydrate and improve your skin, as seawater contains magnesium, which helps reduce inflammation.
Aside from sea water, sea breeze also has its positive effects on your body. Have you always wondered why your parents would bring you near the water when you’re having an asthma attack or even just a common cold back when you were young? Sea breeze has been known to boost the immune system, as it’s filled with negatively charged ions that attach to your lungs, making your respiratory system stronger.
It promotes physical activity.
Moving around on a normal, smooth surface is one thing, but engaging in physical activing on sand is another. Aqua for Balance explains that the extra resistance on sand causes your muscles to exert more effort to the point that simply walking on it can actually give you a good work out. Add that to the calming sound of the waves and the beautiful view of the sea. You get both the physical and mental boost you rarely get when you’re in the city.