What is it about being close to the ocean that makes us feel calm and happy? If you’ve ever experienced a sense of wonder and delight while looking out over the waves, then you know what we’re talking about.
As it turns out, the emotion of happiness that we experience when we’re close to the water is actually a psychological reaction to the ocean that happens in our brains. Did you know that people who live near the water tend to be happier and healthier? Read on for a look at the various reasons why we love being near the water.
Humans’ History with Water
Throughout our history, as people have migrated and grown their tribes and families, explored the planet, and planted new roots, we’ve followed the water. Explorers who sailed the oceans and rivers looking for new lands and experiencing different cultures often spent a majority of their lives at sea or on the river, so to them, the water was home. It also propelled them on their journey, and was a necessary way to travel from one place to another.
For that reason, the water represents possibilities, adventure, excitement and comfort, all at the same time. While being close to a large body of water is deeply comforting and causes us to feel relaxed and at home, it is also endless and largely unexplored, that gives us a sense of excitement and awe. Conde Nast Traveler says just as we may seek the water on our vacations from our everyday lives, explorers sought the water for the horizons they opened.
Stimulating our “Blue Minds”
According to Wallace J. Nichols, Ph.D., a marine biologist and author of a book titled Blue Mind, being close to the water gives us an immeasurable sense of peace. According to Conde Nast Traveler, his book talks about a so-called “blue mind” which describes the state that our brains enter when we are near the ocean. We are often overworked and overstimulated during our daily lives, but when we are faced with the ocean or a body of water that feels like home to us, we’re able to block out all of the noise and stress and enter our “blue mind,” which is peaceful and empty.
In an excerpt from Blue Mind on Salon.com, Nichols says that the water “adds to, enhances, and expands” our efforts to reach a calm and mindful state.
Life Depends on Water
From an evolutionary point of view, the water literally gives us life: humans need it to survive. Humans are a species that were built to depend on the water. We need to drink it to survive, and use it as a method of travel to get where we need to go, and eat the foods that it provides us like fish and mollusks to live. So, some part of our bodies having a psychosomatic reaction to the waves has to do with the fact that we know that we need those drops of water to live. Who wouldn’t be grateful and a little bit in awe?
Living Near the Water Makes us Healthier
Conde Nast Traveler says that living near the water can actually make us healthier. Studies have found that people who live near the ocean, a bay, or a river are generally healthier, as well as happier. This could be due to the fact that living by the ocean causes people to stress less—and stress can often lead to detrimental health issues, like weight gain, and even cause more serious issues like heart attacks.
Plus, if you live near the ocean in a place that has temperate weather year-round, you may be more physically active than people who live further inland. It’s a more attractive pastime to go for a walk on the beach than it is to go for a walk on a busy, noisy street—and a walk on the beach is better exercise than sitting in your car and driving to work each day.
Bodies of water also offer lots of opportunities for sports. Whether you’re a paddle-boarder, kayaker, jet-skier, or water-skier, there are plenty of opportunities to break a sweat by the water.
Benefits of the Color Blue
Studies have shown the color blue to be calming to the mind: the blue color of the ocean has the same effect (or perhaps an even more powerful one) as painting your office space blue to stimulate concentration and calmness.
Here on Fripp Island, we take ocean views very seriously. If you’re looking for a little bit of calmness in your life, and want to live closer to the water to reap all the wonderful benefits that come with being in the ocean’s proximity, call real estate agent John Lee at Fripp Island Real Estate today at 843-575-2820.