Is there anything better than packing up the car and heading toward the ocean? The wind whipping in your hair, the smell of the salt water drifting into your senses, the warm sand between your toes! Unless you’re strictly an indoors-type of person, there’s nothing quite as calming and serene as going to the beach.
Most of us would rather spend a day at the beach than inside our office, cooped up in front of a computer I can guarantee. But have you ever thought about how a trip to the ocean actually affects us?
It’s obvious that it can improve our mood, but can it change our brain’s state? Can it improve our mental health and make us feel happier, overall?
The ocean is obviously powerful, but just how powerful is it?
The beach is a wonderful place.
There’s something for everyone. You can lounge and read a book, you can play volleyball or throw a frisbee, or you can float in the water like the sea queen that you are.
Who doesn’t love going to the beach?
Whether you frequent the Jersey shore or the beaches of Hawaii, there’s no denying the allure of the ocean.
Even if you’re a person who would rather enjoy indoor activities, the chances are that you like the beach.
But can the beach actually be good for your mental health?
Now we’re talking. “Excuse me, boss? The doctor said I can’t come into work and have to hang out at the beach.”
Well, here’s the good news – the science behind it isn’t too far off.
In fact, there is scientific evidence and research that supports the theory that a trip to the beach can change your brain, for the better.
Hallelujah! Let’s all take a trip to the beach.
Okay, but first, how is this possible?
How can a trip to the beach make you happier?
For starters, going to the beach can actually help your depression.
Have you ever thought about why the beach can feel so peaceful?
The sounds of the ocean waves can lull people into a meditative state.
Being in a “blue” space can help with your creativity.
A study in the American Association for the Advancement of Science journal says that being around the color blue can help bolster creativity.
Should we all paint our offices blue?
The color blue is also super peaceful.
According to the clinical psychologist Richard Shuster, PsyD, “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.”
The smell of the ocean also makes you calm.
According to a report by NBC News, this has to do with the negative ions we’re ingesting when we’re at the beach. There’s a study that was published in the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine that says ion therapy could potentially help treat season affective disorder symptoms.
If going to the beach means that I won’t be sad about winter’s shorter days, I’m all for it!
Beach therapy, anyone? We can carpool.
Touching sand also changes you.
If you’re like me, then you relish in the feeling of sand between your toes. Well, good news fellow sand-lovers.
Shuster said that putting your feet in warm sand can help you relax.
“We’ve been conditioned to think of the beach as peaceful and relaxing,” Shuster said. “We expect when we go to the beach that we are going to relax.”
So yes, it’s a bit of our own mind playing tricks on us, but if it relaxes you, what’s the big deal?
If you aren’t a beach person, don’t worry. There are other ways to relax.
Hitting the ocean isn’t the only way to get some much needed R&R.
There are plenty other ways to help you relax.
Let’s dive into it, shall we?
If your body isn’t relaxed, your mind won’t be.
It’s important that your body isn’t holding onto a ton of tension.
If you have a commute, use that time to decompress.
Commuting can be very stressful, obviously. But it can also be a good time for you to try and decompress from the day.
Listen to a calming podcast or a meditation app when on the subway or bus.
Shut off your social media.
For me, this is the most important. Being on social media can make you sad and mess up your mind.
Sometimes, it’s necessary to log out of your social media apps and take a breather. Nobody is doing anything that interesting anyway.
Don’t overdo your to-do list!
Making lists can be super effective in feeling organized and de-stressing yourself. But sometimes they can get too overwhelming.
There’s no need to stare at a task list that is just causing you more anxiety – take it task by task, day by day. Slowly, you’ll complete things until the whole list is done.
Ask yourself questions.
“What’s the worst that will happen if I don’t do this thing or get this thing done?” A lot of times, anxiety and stress can come from our minds going crazy with possibilities. But when we sit down and actually think about it, chances are the situation or outcome isn’t as bad as it seems.
Talk to yourself.
Embrace the gratitude list.
It may sound a little cheesy, but gratitude lists are where it’s at. Every night, before bed, make a list of good things that happened in the day. Read over the list. Make your gratitude list the last thing you read before bed, instead of scrolling through Instagram.
You’ll be amazed at how many good things happen on even the worst of days.
Who says you have to sit still to relax? Do a guided meditation while walking.
There’s nothing like the great outdoors! Enjoy a walk in the park.
Who cares if you don’t consider yourself as a “creative type?” Embrace what you do have.
Everyone is creative in their own way. Find something that you enjoy doing – whether it be a pottery class, knitting, a music lesson or cooking – take that time and do something that simply makes you happy.
Get out and explore!
Go on a new hike or visit a new town! Be spontaneous and explore something new.
This list by Health.com is super helpful and goes into greater detail about tips for relaxing.
But what are some other ways to chill out?
Don’t exercise to simply burn calories – just get moving.
Go for a long walk after dinner, or a bicycle ride around your neighborhood.
Avoid caffeine or alcohol late at night.
For a lot of us, caffeine can increase our anxiety and make us jittery. Try and limit caffeine and alcohol in general, but especially right before bed.
It’s hard to get a good nights sleep when you’re wired up or under the influence.
There are so many ways to relax.
The beach isn’t the only thing that can mellow you out.
Which is good news for all the beach-haters out there.
More beach for us beach-lovers!
But seriously, there’s something out there for everybody.
Find out what helps you calm down.
And embrace it for when life feels super overwhelming.
We all need to have tools to use when we’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
So whether it’s the ocean, or doing yoga, or cooking – find what brings you to your happy place.
And embrace it!
Life’s too short to be stressed all the time. Now, who wants to go to the beach?
Share this with your friend who loves beach trips!