ght-ounce glasses of water a day as a way to stay full, aid digestion, keep your joints healthy, avoid cramps, sleep better, regulate your temperature and on and on. But did you know there’s a psychological benefit to just being near water, especially the ocean?
According to a study conducted by psychologists at the University of Plymouth in Great Britain, the very thought of water has a positive effect on people’s psyches. The study found that among its subjects, scenes containing water are associated with higher perceived restorativeness than those without water, and that restorative qualities are more closely associated with calm versus inclement seascapes, but subaquatic scenes are rated as favorably as terrestrial “green space.” In other words, scenes of coral reefs are just as relaxing as scenes of a garden. Perhaps most surprisingly, good health is more prevalent the closer one lives to the coast, which may explain why Hawaii has a the longest life expectancy of all 50 states.
So what does that mean for us? It means we should all try to spend some time not just near the water, but in it or on it. Recent reports from Sweden suggest that floating in water may have beneficial therapeutic effects on mental health. And there’s no doubt that a day at the beach or pool is good for the soul as well as the mind. So if you’re looking for something to do for vacation, or even for the weekend, think about heading to the water. Go ahead and get in, and don’t be afraid to play in it like a kid. You don’t have to do laps. Dive the bottom. Cannonball. Splash. Your mind will thank you for it.