Why Science Supports a Beach Day for Brain and Mental Health Benefits

7 minute read

Getting outdoors and breathing in fresh air has always been advised for good mental and physical health. A recent study has found that spending time at the beach, in particular, has the most benefits to offer our health.

The cool ocean breeze in your face and the sand beneath your toes is the stuff dreams are made of. It turns out that it is also the stuff good health is made from.

When you have been at the beach for a day, you notice that your body feels relaxed and your mind is calm. Anxious thoughts have left you and any of the stress from your week has floated away.

This overwhelming sense of calm is not just in your head. Science has recently found that the beach environment causes changes in your brain that leave you feeling happier, more relaxed, and full of energy.

Seaside Stress Relief

The relaxing and calm atmosphere of the beach, i.e., the vast stretches of water and/or sky, is now being dubbed “blue space.” Fresh air, warm breezes, soft sand, and the calming sounds of waves crashing are now thought to have a profound effect on the brain.

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It is the specific combination of soothing smells and sounds that you can only get at the beach. This blue space has been shown to soothe your brain and ease your mind and body in an almost hypnotic way, especially if you live with a blue space view.

Water is one of nature’s best cures for the stresses of everyday life. Even when you look at it from a biological aspect, dehydration can cause a natural anxiety.

Water is filled with positive ions that are known to make you feel at ease. You can feel at peace by diving in or just dipping in your toes. And the sand beneath your feet is nature’s way of giving you a relaxing massage.

The sunshine and fresh air at the seaside causes production of serotonin, which is the key hormone involved in feeling of happiness and relaxation. The increased presence of this hormone promotes a state of calm throughout your body by replacing any cortisol that may have built up from stress.

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When you add the calming sounds of crashing waves to the mix, relaxation is inevitable. There is a reason that seaside noises are a main component of relaxation and meditative music.

In addition to relaxing you in the moment, a day at the beach can also promote healthy sleeping patterns. A good night’s sleep is essential to maintain good health and to allow time for your body to regenerate after any stressful days.

By relieving stress and promoting a healthier chemical balance, the beach helps you get the sleep you need. Not to mention, walking in the sand for a day gives you quite the workout, which is the perfect way to prep your body for some much-needed rest.

Coastal Creativity

When you just can’t think of the right words for that presentation, try stepping out to the beach for a day. Being in the blue space allows you to really clear your head of all the daily clutter.

Facts you have to remember, dates on the calendar, items to pick up from the store, and those deadlines to meet can all cramp your creativity. Similar to meditating, a visit to the beach allows you to tune everything out and focus on nature.

| Related: The New Benefits of Meditation on Brain Health |

Once your head is clear, you will notice a boost in creativity, and those solutions you have been seeking will appear. When we connect with nature, we can truly experience ourselves at a level of peace that our stressful daily lives tend to prevent us from feeling.

The hormone cortisol, which is released during stress, limits function to a fight or flight response only and impairs cognitive function. Relaxing by the beach helps to replace this with soothing hormones that allow your creativity to flow.

Ocean Healing Powers

Ocean water has a positive effect on the appearance of your skin. Of course, you want to make sure you have sunscreen on at the beach to protect you from UV rays, but the water itself possesses antibacterial and detoxification powers.

The warmth of the sun opens your pores, which allow salt water to enter easily and pull out all the blemish-causing toxins. Additionally, the iodine in sea water destroys bacteria and fungi that can cause breakouts and skin conditions.

Iodine also has the ability to boost the function of your thyroid, which in turn provides additional support to your immune system. Regular exposure to sea water can increase your iodine exposure and ultimately your immunity.

Adequate iodine content in our bodies is also essential for ensuring we have the right energy levels and metabolic rates as well as regulated hormone levels. A few trips to the beach each month can keep you infection free and running at optimal levels internally.

The first thing most people do when they get to the beach is take a deep breath. The fresh air fills your lungs and brings instant peace. You may also notice that it is easier to breathe.

The air at the beach is charged with negative ions that work to increase oxygen absorption in your lungs. Individuals with asthma, COPD, and any other breathing complications can breathe much easier when they are seaside.

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Beach air relaxes your chest muscles and allows you to take in more air, and healthier air than you are exposed to each day.

The Bottom Line

The evidence is in—A trip to the beach can cure almost all your daily woes.

Whether it was a stressful week at work, too many school exams, or the aftermath of visiting in-laws, going to the beach can calm and relax you. Let the warm, salty air comfort your soul, and the water and sand pamper your feet.

The beach is the place to go to restore your mental health and, therefore, your overall well-being.

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