Imagine waking up on a lazy Sunday morning, opening your windows and looking out at the ocean view. Ah, bliss. Simply gazing out to sea can instantly make you feel more relaxed. The ocean has long been an escape for artists, poets, and musicians, inspiring many paintings, books, and songs. Water covers approximately 70% of the earth’s surface and makes up 60% of our bodies. It has been referred to as the elixir of life, and it is no wonder that we have a deep biological connection to it.
Simply looking at the ocean, hearing the waves, and feeling the spray of the sea on our skin can instantly reduce feelings of stress and promote a sense of awe and wonder. Scientists have even found that those who live near the coast experience better physical health and wellbeing.1 If you don’t live near the coast, there are ways to still benefit from the ocean. MONQ’s Ocean personal diffuser can be taken with you for a quick breath of fresh air wherever you are. Whether you’re sitting in rush hour or prepping for an important meeting, a breath of MONQ can help instantly calm you.
The Link Between Water and Wellbeing
Scientists have conducted countless studies on the benefits of living near an ocean, looking out onto nature, and spending more time away from cities. Now, even governments are looking into these benefits and aiming to use water to improve the health of the community. The European Union has even initiated a research project called Blue Health 2020. This is an interdisciplinary project that focuses on understanding how water-based environments can affect health and wellbeing. Researchers on this project are using surveys, experiments, reviews, and interventions to determine whether living near water can help tackle obesity, mental health disorders, and physical inactivity.
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An interesting research study conducted by Blue Health is determining whether or not virtual reality and video can induce the same feelings of relaxation that being next to a body of water elicits.2
Stress in a World of Technology
In 2017, the American Psychological Association found that 86% of adults reported constantly checking their email and social media accounts. It is not a surprise that the constant use of technology has been linked to higher levels of stress.3
Spending too much time indoors staring at screens can lead to lethargy and general dissatisfaction. Think about how much time you spend looking at your phone, your computer or your television during the day. Now think about how much time you spend looking at a natural area. For most Americans, technology wins. Employed people who constantly check their email on their days off reported even higher levels of stress than those who constantly check their social media. It is difficult to log off and simply be these days.
When you live in an urban environment, you look out your window and see a concrete jungle. There may be a few trees or a small park, but you live in the midst of a busy city. When you live on the coast, you can look out your window onto the vast expanse of the sea. Staring at the ocean instead of rush hour traffic can instantly give you pause and allow a break from the stresses of the day.
Nature and Lower Stress are Connected
Spending time in nature links to lower levels of cortisol, lower blood pressure and an increased sense of wellbeing. Unfortunately, certain circumstances don’t allow people to spend as much time in nature as they’d like, or even any at all. In one study, hospital patients who had a natural scene outside of their window experienced lower levels of stress and shorter recovery times than patients with an urban scene.4
Interestingly enough, simply showing people an image of natural space can make their stress levels drop. In therapeutic settings without access to nature, scientists have found that nature-based guided imagery can help reduce symptoms of anxiety.5
In a study conducted by Michael Depledge of the University of Exeter medical school, participants were shown a variety of different images. The results showed that people preferred green environments when they included water, whether this was a pond, lake, or ocean. He repeated this study with images of urban areas and showed that urban areas that included water are more favorable as green natural areas without water.6
Taking Time to Relax
Living with an ocean view offers myriad health benefits. The closeness of nature allows you more opportunities to spend time outdoors. Additionally, the view out of your window can lead to lower levels of stress. However, not all of us can be so lucky. If you’re living in an urban environment, try bringing the ocean into your home. Hang images of the ocean on your walls, bring natural elements such as plants and seashells into your home and diffuse MONQ’s Ocean blend. Adding these simple elements into your life can greatly improve your overall wellbeing.
Photo credits: WillyamBradberry/shutterstock.com, AkhenatonImages/shutterstock.com, Borphy//shutterstock.com, SydaProductions/shutterstock.com