A life by the sea is scientifically proven to make you happier

There’s just something soothing and peaceful about being close to the ocean, don’t you agree? Watching the rise and fall of the waves and hearing the water crashing against the shore, makes us all dream of pursuing a life by the sea.

Many of us choose our holiday destinations based around proximity to the water, with some willing to pay a hefty premium for hotels or apartments with sea or lake views. This same trend can be seen in the property market, with real estate data consistently showing how buyers are demanding and paying over the odds for property with water views.

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Looking back at human history, our relationship with the water goes back millennia. For thousands of years we’ve migrated to water sources as a means of survival. We’ve crossed oceans in search of new lands, and journeyed down rivers on the hunt for new horizons. In the Victoria era, a ‘healthy dose of sea air’ was prescribed for anything from a dodgy heart, to mental health issues. Water is an essential component for human survival, but can it actually make us happier individuals?

bridge in Edinburgh, Scotland

In short the answer is yes, and science provides the proof. Marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols Ph.D, who has spent the last 25 years studying the human relationship with water, calls our state of mind when close to the water our ‘Blue Mind’. Discussed extensively in a book originally published in 2014, our ‘Blue Mind’ refers to how being closer to water gives us the opportunity to escape our hyper connected, over stimulated modern lives. Swapping busy streets and noisy traffic for calm and solitude by the water induces our ‘Blue Mind’ state, in turn reducing our stress and anxiety levels and improving our mental health.

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Physically speaking, being in the water also has its benefits. We’re given the chance to rest muscles we use regularly, and use other muscles that don’t often get a workout. We’re also able to temporarily give up gravity, which in turn gives our minds a much needed reprieve. Do you ever feel like you do your best thinking when your soaking in the tub? There’s a reason for that. Studies have proven that when we’re submerged in water we’re able to think more insightfully and with a clearer mind, in turn creating a stronger creative output.

Couple walking by the ocean in Croatia

So our minds and bodies are soothed by the water, but what about our ears, and more specifically how we react to the sound of water? Well that has an impact, too. Auditory neuroscientists report that sounds with repetitive, soft low pitches and harmonic frequencies are most pleasurable to the human ear, helping to create a state of calm and wellbeing, Repetitive, soft and harmonic – sound familiar at all? Maybe that’s why we all sleep better to the sound of the sea.

So there you have it – a life by the sea is the secret to a happier, calmer you. Which watery paradise will you be visiting in 2020?

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