Scientists have recently proved that nature has a relaxing effect on the mind. What’s important is that this is not exclusive to green spaces. Scientific research has shown that time at the beach improves mental health and affects behavior in children. Even enjoying an ocean views from afar can have a very profound effect on the brain.
Mood-enhancing Effects of Water
Marine biologist, Wallace J. Nichols, took upon the task of understanding the effect that the ocean has on people. He examined numerous scientific papers and cutting-edge neuroscience. His research revealed that the ocean, or what researchers call blue spaces, can help us detox from our everyday lives.
Nichols published the findings of his research in the book, Blue Mind. The main takeaway from his research is that being near, in, on or under water can make you happier and healthier. In addition, you may become more connected with the flow of life, thus becoming better at whatever it is that you do.
One of the main effects of the ocean, according to Nichols, is that it “meditates you.” The sounds of the waves, as well as their subtle and slow movement, can alter your brainwave patterns. This invokes an involuntary meditative state, what Nichols refers to as the state of “drift.” In Blue Mind, he quotes scientist, MA Greenstein:
Drifting takes us into the default-mode network: the network that’s active unless we are paying attention to something. In other words, it’s basically ‘online’ until we call on other areas of attention. And the default-mode network devours huge amounts of glucose and a disproportionate amount of oxygen.
In other words, this “drift” state uses up lots of energy. Furthermore, absorbing large amounts of oxygen rejuvenates the mind and improves concentration. At the same time, blue spaces help us relax, allowing us to be more inspired and creative.
Blue Spaces Lower Psychological Distress
Another research study conducted by Michigan State University’s (MSU’s) Amber L. Pearson and her colleagues discovered that blue spaces improve mental health more so than green spaces. In other words, these scientists believe that going to the beach improves mental health.
Pearson examined the relationship between psychological distress and the visibility of green and blue spaces. Pearson, an assistant professor of health geography and a member of MSU’s Water Science Network, states:
Increased views of blue space is significantly associated with lower levels of psychological distress.
However, we did not find that with green space.
Consequently, this study shows us that even gazing at the ocean can have profound effects on the brain. It is very possible the same effect can be expected in people viewing any large fresh body of water.
Behavioral Development and Blue Spaces
Finally, another study conducted by Spanish scientists researched the effects of green and blue spaces on children. This study investigated how contact with green spaces and beaches impacted indicators of behavioral development and symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
For the assessment of blue spaces, researchers focused on children’s time spent at the beach. They also examined the residential proximity to the ocean.
In conclusion, the researchers stated:
We estimated some beneficial associations between use of blue spaces (i.e., annual days of beach attendance) and behavioral problems.
Conclusion: Going to the Beach Improves Mental Health
A growing body of scientific research points to the profound benefits of spending time at the beach or near the ocean. Be it the fresh ocean air, the hum of the surf, or the cool touch of ocean water on the skin, time at the beach can improve your mindset about life.
This article (Science Reveals Time at the Beach Improves Mental Health) is copyrighted by Awareness Junkie, 2017. You may not copy, reproduce, publish or distribute any content therein without written permission. You may contact us here.