Life’s a beach in South Florida, and we’re happier because of it. And, science is backing it up!
A study in the journal, Health & Place, examined self-reported health and proximity to the beach, finding that people who lived closer to the coast believed they were healthier. It stated, “Individual level coastal proximity effects for general health and mental health were small, their cumulative impact at the community level may be meaningful for policy makers.”
In 2016, the Journal of Coastal Zone Management conducted similar research and found that people (specifically the elderly – hello, snowbirds) who lived in view of the coast had more positive psychological effects. Also worth noting is that females saw greater effects than men.
“Staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state,” said Richard Shuster, PsyD, a clinical psychologist, to NBC. This is because of the type of stimulation we receive at the beach.
According to Shuster, the pairing of blue waters and skies and the gentle crashing of the waves, our parasympathetic nervous system is given all it needs to help us unwind. Not to mention the natural salt therapy that happens when we’re breathing in that ocean breeze.
So, how can you get the benefits of the beach this upcoming semester?
- Plan to study at the beach in the evening. This’ll help you get away from campus and home craziness and can act as a mini retreat.
- Purchase a himalayan salt lamp. These emit the same negative ions you’d be getting by the water.
- YouTube crashing waves. White noise can help you sleep deeper and the ebb and flow of waves can too. So, plug your headphones in and zone out.
- Open your blinds. Don’t shut out the sun! It provides you with vitamin D which has a laundry list of benefits.
No matter how busy your schedule may seem, there is always time to take a mental break. So, take some of that weight off your shoulders, pick up your sunscreen and get to the beach!
Featured image by Netanya Walton