5 Scientific Reasons A Beach Vacation Is Necessary For Your Health

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If you needed an excuse to take time off and go to the beach, you now have one: Scientific research has demonstrated that it’s not just enjoyable but actually good for you.

Wallace Nichols, who goes by the nickname “J”, is a marine biologist who has made in-depth studies of “wild water” and how it positively affects humans. Here are 5 reasons why you should go to the beach – from his book “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, Or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, An Better At What You Do” in 2014. [1]

1. Seeing Nature Has A Stimulating Effect On Neurons

In “Blue Mind”, J cites several studies on the effects of nature sceneries on the human brain. One study was published in 2010, which revealed that pictures of nature scenes were able to activate the neurons in the brain, promoting better processing of signals through the nervous system. [2] These results are mirrored in another study (published in 1995) J cites in his book, where students whose dormitories faced nature scenes had longer attention spans and better concentration. [3]

2. Being In Or Near Water Increases Happiness

A more recent publication in 2013 by MacKerron and Mourato specifically cites marine and coastal margins as the “happiest locations” among respondents, over 6 points higher than happiness felt in urban environments (out of a 0 to 100 scale). The study revealed that greater happiness was associated with higher temperature and sunshine – factors found in coastal areas with an abundance of water present. [4]

3. All Humans Lived “Underwater” While In The Womb And A Part Of Us Remembers This Fondly

When babies are carried by their mothers, they are protected by a sac (the amniotic membrane) which is filled with water. The experience of spending nine months swimming or floating in amniotic fluid can be a contributing factor to our predilection with water and it’s thought that memories from the prenatal time can persist into life. [5][6]

4. Nature Reduces Stress

A 2014 study by Rita Berto focused on the Stress Recovery Theory and Attention Restorative Theory and revealed that exposure to natural environments (called “restorative environments”) was able to significantly reduce negative mood states and the negative effects of stress. In some ways, exposure to natural elements like water is able to prevent the physical (negative) effects of stress by acting as a buffer, when people seek nature in times of stress. [7]

5. Blue Is The World’s Most Popular Color And Makes People Feel Good

While the term “everybody” is a little too general, a 2003 study revealed that blue was the favorite color of the majority of both male and female respondents. The majority of respondents associated the color blue with trust, security, and dependability – a major factor that could also explain the positive effects of simply seeing bodies of water and the coastline. [8]


[1] Nichols, W. (2015). About J.. http://www.wallacejnichols.org/104/about-j.html

[2] Kim, G., et. al. (2010). Functional Neuroanatomy Associated with Natural and Urban Scenic Views in the Human Brain: 3.0T Functional MRI. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2930158/

[3] MacKerron, G. & Mourato, S. (2013). Happiness is greater in natural environments. http://personal.lse.ac.uk/mackerro/happy_natural_envs.pdf

[4] Tennessen, C. & Cimprich, B. (1995). Views to nature: Effects on attention. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0272494495900160

[5] Dirix, C., et. al. (2009). Aspects of Fetal Learning and Memory. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01329.x/epdf

[6] Gonzales-Gonzales, N., et. al. (2010). Persistence of fetal memory into neonatal life. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1080/00016340600855854/abstract

[7] Berto, R. (2014). The Role of Nature in Coping with Psycho-Physiological Stress: A Literature Review on Restorativeness. http://www.mdpi.com/2076-328X/4/4/394/htm

[8] Hallock, J. (2003). Colour Assignment. http://joehallock.com/edu/COM498/datasets.html

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