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Science Shows How A Trip To The Beach Actually Changes Your Brain

This article originally appeared on YourTango.

by Rebecca Jane Stokes

Get there, ASAP.

The ocean. A lake. A babbling creek. 

Each body of water conjures a feeling inside of us even as we read the words. 

You don’t have to be an outdoor girl to acknowledge that spending time by the water can leave you feeling rested, recharged, soothed, and restored. 

I’m a total water baby. Not only am I a Cancer, but I’ve always lived right on the water

The farther away from it I am, the more stressed out and unhappy I feel. 

It turns out that I’m not a secret mermaid (boo).


I’m just a human being having a very natural and scientific reaction to what researchers call blue space

So what exactly happens when we spend time by the water? 

Our minds are sent into a restful almost hypnotic space thanks to the soothing smells and sounds of the water.

Scientists are sure that as they continue to study blue space that spending time in one can’t help but boost your mental health.


1. It reduces depression.

Did you know that the sound of waves can put people in a true meditative state? It can, and that state in turn is linked to increased mental clarity and reduced depression.

Sebastian was right. It is better under the sea. That said, Prince Eric was admittedly, quite fine.


2. It makes you more creative.

Being in a blue space can also bolster your creativity. 

Because your brain is relaxed, you are more likely to drift and imagine than you are on a day to day basis. 


3. It de-stresses you. 

Taking a dip also helps because the water is full of naturally occurring negative ions. Some scientists believe that the positive ions given off by the appliances everyday leave us feeling angry, cranky, and overworked. Naturally occurring negative ions counteract all of this. I’ll be real, this sounds a little bit too much like something George RR Martin might cook up, but I love the ocean, so I’ll go with it. 


4. It changes your perspective on the world. 

Plus it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that there are things bigger on this planet then us, our commutes, or a traffic jam. Being in the presence of nature is soothing as hell. 

I guess this means it is only a matter of time before doctors are prescribing beach time alongside antidepressants.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my Prozac, but I feel like there would be much less of a stigma around an activity that involves dolphins and bikinis. 


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Comments (41)

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  13. Judith 04/13/2017 at 10:42 pm

    Here in the huge skies of the Southwest’s high desert, we can relax into blue space too, with many of the same effects. 340 sunny days a year, clear cobalt blue all winter, puffy white clouds in blue sea all summer, surrounded by amazing fossil hills (we have been ocean bottom 29 times!) perspective changes and we can feel the Great Spirit all around us.

  14. Name 04/04/2017 at 9:17 am

    I have always known that!

  15. Rochelle 03/28/2017 at 8:37 pm

    The beach…especially by an ocean…is my happy place. 🙂 Well, and my bed. lol

  16. BEVERLY 03/16/2017 at 2:06 pm


  17. Lizzi Larbalestier 03/16/2017 at 2:05 am

    My coaching practice is at the coast for some of the above reasons and many more. There is lots of reasearch into the Blue Health Agenda. I am current researching a number of emotional and biofeedback measures of spending time in and near water. Blue prescriptions depending upon condition could likely complement pharmaceuticals and in some cases replace. Check out my friend J’s book #BlueMind (Wallace J Nichols) a NYT best seller.

  18. Delores Downey 03/15/2017 at 3:06 am

    Thanks for mentioning two males, Sebastian and Prince Eric. Whoever the hell they are. One is right & the other is fine. Must be why you included that mermaid with a deep cleavage line, the epitome of restful refreshing moments found near a body of water. Please bestow this new-found! philosophy, emanating from privileged patriarchal whites, on scared and starving refugees escaping in overcrowded boats.

    • Julian 03/15/2017 at 11:13 am

      It is all in reference to the movie The Little Mermaid. It’s by Disney. It makes total sense to the topic at hand and is done with a little bit of humor.

      The rest of what you say, I cannot twist my mind to follow.

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  21. Herdis 03/10/2017 at 11:35 am

    You ruined the whole article with that last sentence; why on Earth would you love Prozac when you can go to the Ocean???

    • estherfrisch 03/13/2017 at 1:13 am

      suddenly ceasing medication can be harmfull

    • Heather 03/13/2017 at 9:30 am

      Totally agree!

    • Name 03/15/2017 at 9:17 am

      Because Prozac is prescribed for something a lot harder to fix than can be done with a trip to the beach! It isn’t a “happy pill” and people really need to show more respect and sympathy for those of us who need a chemical to balance our brains on a full time basis.

      • K 04/14/2017 at 12:21 am

        You’re right mental illness is not to be taken lightly; however if a trip to the beach helps to reduce anxiety, calm a person inside or just allows one to think in a calm environment. Surely that is just as important. When I was ill and taking a drug much like Prozac, I went to the beach often, because it made me feel calm and more able to face life. If you are feeling stressed give it a go it will help.

  22. Charlene 03/09/2017 at 12:45 pm

    I am a Cancerian, too!! Totally agree…negative ions at the ocean!!?

  23. Afifa 03/09/2017 at 12:25 am

    Science has managed to find out that looking at water has positive effect on mental health, Now??? The Prophet of Islam talked about it by saying that water washes away sadness 1400 yrs ago.

  24. Vesna Bailey 03/08/2017 at 5:14 am

    Brilliant article! Beach time, walk through the woods time, chase butterflies time … if there was a way to bottle it!

  25. Julie Smith 03/01/2017 at 8:47 pm

    We are water, that is why it feels like a peaceful home.

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  27. Dan 02/25/2017 at 8:19 pm

    I love spending a few minutes on my balcony everyday it makes my brain happy.

  28. 80s4ever 02/25/2017 at 5:49 pm


  29. Me 02/24/2017 at 4:31 pm

    Bigger *than* us, not bigger *then* us. Geez.

    • Nelly 03/13/2017 at 3:35 am

      Then..than…go visit the ocean. You’re missing the point!

  30. Trish 02/24/2017 at 9:39 am

    #4 … Being in the presence of nature is “soothing as hell”?!?!
    The Hell that I have learned about in the Bible is all about fire and torment, and there is nothing soothing about that!

    • Skipndance 03/02/2017 at 10:19 pm

      Well, considering that the literal meaning of Biblical hell (Sheol in Hebrew) is the grave or the common destiny of humanity in which there is no consciousness, it actually would be like a really deep sleep. So, yeah, being in nature could be soothing as a deep sleep. ?

    • Jan 03/04/2017 at 11:44 am

      I work in mental health and this has been my regular practice with clients for years, knowing myself the value of water. I would like to use this article in my work but nowhere are there any references to the phrase “science proves”. Please add.

      • Renee 03/13/2017 at 3:15 am

        Jan, click on the link that is “blue space” Youll find some scientific data

  31. Sarah Hughs 02/23/2017 at 4:38 pm