Science shows that living near the ocean is good for one’s mental and physical health.
Nothing nurtures the soul quite like spending time on the beach. It turns out, however, that the soul isn’t the only thing that benefits from time in the sand and surf.
According to an analysis of English census data published in the journal, Health Place, people who live by the coast report having better physical and mental health than those who don’t. An additional study published in the Journal of Coastal Zone Management found that people who live in homes with an ocean view report feeling calmer than people who live in homes without an ocean view.
Psychologists refer to this state of calm as “Blue Mind.” When near a body of water, the human mind enters a mild meditative state that de-stimulates the brain and encourages relaxation. Research has shown that spending extended periods of time on or near the ocean promotes elevated and sustained happiness.
This Blue Mind state is triggered by the different sensory stimuli the mind is exposed to when near the ocean.
One of the key triggers for Blue Mind at the beach is the blue coloration of the ocean and sky. Exposure to the color blue has a major impact on psychological health. “The color blue has been found by an overwhelming amount of people to be associated with feelings of calm and peace”, says Richard Shuster, PsyD, clinical psychologist and host of The Daily Helping podcast. “Staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state”. Studies have also shown that prolonged exposure to the color blue can also lead to a boost of creativity.
Another key factor for Blue Mind is the rhythmic ebbing and flowing noise of the ocean. These sounds, combined with the visual effect of watching the tide come in and out, de-stimulates the brain and activates the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system 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.
The smell of an ocean breeze also helps alleviate stress. However, the effect of ocean air on the brain is more chemical than it is psychological. The air you breathe at the beach contains high concentration of negatively charged oxygen atoms. These special ions posses extra electrons and can be found near large bodies of water. Studies have suggested that exposure to these negative ions could be used as an effective treatment for certain types of depression.
The health benefits of living near the beach go well beyond psychological health. The warmer weather associated with the beach coupled with easier access to outdoor activities, such as swimming and golfing, encourages greater physical activity. With greater physical activity outdoors, people living at the beach also produce greater amounts of Vitamin D through regular exposure to sunlight.
If you are ready to experience the healing effects of beach living for yourself, visit your friends at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Elliott Coastal Living. For more than 60 years, the friendly staff and real estate professionals at BHGRE Elliott Coastal Living have been helping people find their forever home in the Myrtle Beach area. Give them a call or stop by their office today and learn just how good life at the beach can be.