If you are like me, you spend the entire year planning your summer vacation. There is something about the blue water, sun rays, noise, and sand at the beach, that simply improves my life.
I am not the only one, apparently, as the beach is a healing place for us all, and it allows us to refresh and recharge.
Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist and best-selling author of the Blue Mind, says:
“There are all these cognitive and emotional benefits that we derive every time we spend time by the 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.”
The analysis of English census data published in the journal Health Place showed that those who live by the coast have better physical and mental health than those who don’t.
Plus, a study published in the Journal of Coastal Zone Management found that participants who live in homes with ocean views report feeling calmer than those without them.
Visiting the beach has numerous health and mental benefits:
1. The beach is relaxing
The sounds we hear at the beach calm our minds and relax our bodies. The rhythm of the waves pounding on the shore destimulates our brains and activates our parasympathetic nervous system.
This is why the calming effects of the sound made by the crashing waves are often chosen for sleep machines.
Also, looking at the blue sky brings a feeling of peace. Clinical psychologist Richard Shuster, PsyD, says:
“The color blue has been found by an overwhelming amount of people to be associated with feelings of calm and peace. Staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state.”
Sally Nazari, PsyD, owner of Chrysalis Psychological Services, adds:
“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.”
Shuster adds that our soothed state is also a result of the smell of the ocean breeze, which may be linked to the negative ions in the air that we inhale.
2. The sand
Walking barefoot, or grounding is an incredibly beneficial practice that stimulates our body and mind. Our feet are the center of a rich network of nerves and acupuncture points, so they absorb free ions on the earth’s surface just like our lungs can absorb ions in the air.
The earth is negatively charged, so grounding helps the body to connect to a negatively charged supply of energy that revitalizes and improves mood.
Sand is a natural exfoliator, so walking on it will eliminate all dead skin cells on the feet. Also, you can rub it on the legs, arms, hands, and feet, to renew the skin.
Wash it off with the ocean water, that will tighten and rejuvenate the skin.
3. Vitamin D
Only 10 minutes in the early morning sun without sunscreen will help you get all the vitamin D you need for the rest of the day. This vitamin will strengthen your bones and teeth, boost immunity, regulate insulin levels, improve the brain and nervous system, and support lung function and cardiovascular health.
4. Stress relief
Our body releases serotonin while at the beach, the hormone responsible for our happiness and relaxation. Its elevated levels improve mood, relieve stress, and help sleep. The combination of the sun and the waves soothe the body, alleviate pain, and release tension.
5. Relieves inflammation and heals infections
Seawater is rich in magnesium, potassium, and iodine that soothe wounds and infections and treat any inflammation. Also, these minerals boost the immune system.
To fully enjoy the ocean and reap all the benefits of the beach:
- Be present at the moment. Disconnect from all technology, and enjoy nature.
- Do things that make you happy, swimming, reading, sunbathing, whatever raises your vibes.
- Apply sunscreen after 10 am, to have a safe and painless day at the beach.
While most of us take better care of our physical health instead of our brain, physical fitness cannot trump mental health. Therefore, we should all seek balance, both, mentally and physically.