“The sea cures all ailments.” – Plato
There’s something so magical and healing about the ocean. Living 3 blocks from the ocean, I can attest to this claim. It has a positive impact on all areas of my personal well-being. Backed by science, the ocean is proven to improve our mood and has the capacity to heal the body, mind and soul.
Water makes us feel calmer and more at ease. Watching the waves crash on the shore can also lower stress. With lower stress comes better health, improved sleep habits and a healthier immune system. When you spend time near the ocean, you have better physical and mental health too. Let’s dive-in to some of the healing effects of the ocean on the mind and body (and let’s not forget the spirit too).
The Ocean Grounds Us
To be grounded means to have a sense of stability and sensibility in all things, especially our thoughts and emotions. A grounded person is described as “down to earth” by Westerners. In eastern philosophies people apply the practice of everyday mindfulness to achieve this state. Our bodies are connected to the Earth in its natural state on a regular basis. But our bodies have an electromagnetic field of energy, and with the high prevalence of electromagnetic waves, Wi-Fi and mobile phones, it becomes easy to have an excess build-up of these positive electrons in our bodies. All this can lead to feeling depleted, fatigued, weight-down and lethargic. The more time we spend outdoors, and near the ocean, our bodies can tune-in to its natural frequency, helping us to feel more energized, and relaxed – and grounded – at the same time as our body delights in its natural environment.
The Ocean Boosts Creativity
Unless you’ve got a regular meditation practice, the busy world may have taken-up more of your personal and mental bandwidth than you’d like. We just don’t give our minds much of a chance to rest and wander freely. But when we’re by the ocean, the mind switches into a different frequency and level of engagement. The brain can become more coherent, allowing the mind to take-on its natural creative rhythms. This place of expansion, in the mind, is associated with daydreaming, imagination, memories, insight, awakenings and introspection. This thinking process is vitally important for creativity.
When we turn off the analytical mind for a moment, we can more readily experience the insights and ideas that we were desperately seeking a few hours earlier. As I tell my meditation students, you can’t switch-off the brain or the mind. They’ve got too many things to show us! Harnessing its power is a more ideal way of thinking about the brain and the mind. Being by the ocean allows us to do that. The brain can be in a more restful state, and from here, you’re automatically able to form new and engaging connections within the mind. Take care to balance your days, so you have enough creativity time by the ocean.
The Ocean Helps Us Unplug
One important thing to note is how much stimuli you’re engaging with on a daily basis. This might be from our tech devices, TV/Video in our homes and WIFI in offices. Once you’re aware of what’s happening in and around your home environment, take some time-out for your brain to regulate itself. Being around any water allows our brain and physical senses to take a break. If you have the luxury of living by the ocean, unplug by taking a walk or bike ride by the ocean. Listen to the sounds you hear and allow them to drown-out the mind-chatter and daily distractions.
Watching the waves crash along the shore is also a wonderful visual cue that allows the mind to soften and relax. The ocean offers us the opportunity to listen to our intuition and forces us to take a break from the forces of movement. This creates more focus and sharpens our awareness on what’s really important to us. What seemed really important earlier might not seem so important after a few moments of introspection by the water.
The Ocean Boosts Immunity
There’s a widespread belief that foods boost your immune system, such as fatty fish, garlic, ginger, citrus foods, almonds, and many others. When you keep your immune system healthy, your body is able to defend itself against common day-to-day pathogens we encounter in the environment. Being out by the ocean is also proven to be an immune-booster, because it exposes us to sunshine which boosts our body’s Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D from sunshine is proposed to be the best form we can take-in.
Vitamin D is considered the “the sunshine vitamin”. It’s “a fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate, and many other biological effects. In humans, the most important compounds in this group are vitamin D₃ and vitamin D₂ (source)”. Vitamin D is vitally important to bodily functions but it’s estimated that 40% of adults are deficient in this essential vitamin. This deficiency can result in poor health outcomes like
- Muscle weakness
To safely get Vitamin D from the sun, consider getting outside when the UV index is lower.
The health benefits of the ocean are very real. We have been aware of them for centuries. In today’s busy modern society, spending time by the ocean is becoming more important than ever. The benefits of the water offer a great way to offset the stressors of busy living. There’s so much mystery in the ocean! There are times when nothing is more satisfying than watching the waves crash along the shore – they nurture the senses and keep my body, mind and spirit alive.