How the Ocean Affects Mental Illness
In early Rome, taking a bath was considered relaxing and a good way to connect with others. In traditional Chinese medicine, water was considered an element that brought harmony and balance. Just like how green spaces like parks, forests, and parks can do wonders for our mental health, blue spaces near the ocean can do the same thing. What is it about the ocean that draws us to it? The sounds and calmness of the ocean have a way of making us feel relaxed and calm as well.
When the sounds of the ocean play, it affects the prefrontal cortex which is associated with emotion and self-reflection. The waves of the ocean produce negative ions that moves quickly the ability to absorb oxygen and produce serotonin. Our stress levels tend to rise when we are in areas that have too much activity and too much noise like when we are in the city and we are weary of any pickpocket thieves around or being in the forest where we get scared of any predators lurking. Because the ocean is flat and we can see for miles, we do not feel like we will be visited by any potential threats. The ocean presents us with the same wave patterns so we are not distracted by anything that is overwhelming.
When we are surrounded by the ocean, the waves are soft, calm, and predictable as we recognize the wave patterns. According to auditory neuroscientist Shelley Batts, we can also trigger memories and feelings of relaxation when we listen to the ocean as we go back to a time when we felt safe like listening to our mother’s heartbeat when we were in the womb. The calming noises of the ocean also decrease our cortisol levels which are stress hormones.
The ocean can help our creativity too as we are so distracted by the calm waves and watching the patterns they make that we forget about our problems, challenges, and what makes us stressed. We feel inclined to daydream and fantasize which can boost our imagination when we most need it. Watching the waves can also put us in a meditative state which will lower our stress levels, relieves pain, mental clarity, and better sleep. Looking into all of these benefits can inspire someone to spend more time at the beach to clear their head or even get a house near the beach.
Castle Craig is one of the most established and respected addiction rehab centers in the UK. Castle Craig provides consulting psychiatrists who diagnose associated mental illnesses like anxiety states, depression, ADD, PTSD, eating disorders, compulsive gambling, and compulsive relationships. For information, call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 256 3732. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006 (normal charges apply).
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | November 20, 2017