Six Psychological Benefits of Being By the Sea

Have you ever felt an intense sense of peace when you're near the sea? As a matter of fact, being close to the ocean has many benefits, some of which are often ignored. Would you like to find out about them?
Six Psychological Benefits of Being By the Sea
Elena Sanz

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

If you’re lucky enough to live by the sea or if you usually spend the summer in a coastal environment, you’ll have seen how your mood changes as you get closer to the ocean. Perhaps you think that it’s simply due to being on vacation. However, there’s more to it than that. In fact, the psychological benefits of being by the sea are real and palpable, and today we’ll tell you about them.

Being by the sea makes you feel calm, happy, and secure. You sleep better and life seems to move at a different pace. This isn’t just in your imagination. In fact, the sea has a real impact on your physical and psychological health. Therefore, spending time close to it is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself. We show you why.

Woman smiling in front of the sea
The sea helps us cut through ruminative thoughts.

The psychological benefits of being by the sea

You’ve probably been able to experience first-hand the fantastic benefits of being by the sea.  Indeed, being close to the ocean:

  • Induces states of calm and relaxation. In fact, it relieves stress and nervousness and helps combat anxiety problems.
  • Generates positive emotions. For example, feelings of well-being, happiness, and fulfilment. Thus, it can be useful in combating certain symptoms of depression.
  • Promotes mindfulness and helps free the mind from worries.
  • Stimulates creativity and promotes concentration.
  • Provides mental clarity and better cognitive functioning.
  • Improves sleep quality and prevents disorders such as insomnia.

Why is the sea so beneficial for psychological health?

As you can see, there are many advantages of being by the sea. However, why do these effects occur? As a matter of fact, there are several factors:

It’s a natural environment

Human beings are animals, and the simple fact of connecting with nature triggers or produces changes in the body and mind. In our fast moving urban environments, saturated with stimuli, we can get sick. Being by the sea slows down your thoughts, reduces activation, and eliminates stress.

The color blue and its emotional effects

According to color psychology, each hue has the potential to generate certain psychological and emotional states in human beings. The color blue induces feelings of calm and relaxation and gives you a sense of security. Indeed, looking at the sea is ideal for reducing anger or anxiety.

Greater oxygenation

Being by the sea and deeply inhaling the sea breeze allows you to oxygenate yourself better and breathe cleaner and purer air. This helps you reduce tension and combat certain physiological signs of anxiety. In addition, it allows for the better functioning of your prefrontal cortex, the area of your brain responsible for reasoning, analysis, and decision-making.

White noise and alpha waves

If you practice meditation, you’ll know that the sound of the sea is one of the most used elements in this type of exercise. That’s because the noise of the waves favors relaxation and rest.

It’s a repetitive, constant, and harmonic sound (white noise), which promotes your brain to enter an alpha state. This means it helps you fall asleep and feel calmer. In addition, these brain waves favor creativity, the emergence of new ideas, and the ability to solve problems.

Woman looking at the sea
The movement, color, and expanse of the sea produce a relaxing effect on the brain.

Muscle relaxation

Finally, submerging yourself in the sea is also an excellent activity. The feeling of weightlessness that it gives you, and the beating of the waves on your body, promotes muscle relaxation.

In addition, being by the sea can encourage you to practice sports more regularly. This promotes night rest and can be extremely useful if you suffer from insomnia.

Enjoy the psychological benefits of being by the sea

In short, a stay on the coast can be of great help to combat your daily stress, connect with the environment (and with yourself), and increase your levels of satisfaction.

However, if you’re unable to visit the sea, you can use some of its positive elements in an isolated way. For example, try and spend time in other types of natural environments. Or, listen to the sounds of the ocean on a recording or take advantage of the benefits of color therapy.

If you do have the opportunity to often be by the sea, don’t hesitate to do so. Your physical and psychological health will thank you.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Lustenberger, C., Boyle, M. R., Foulser, A. A., Mellin, J. M., & Fröhlich, F. Functional role of frontal alpha oscillations in creativity. Cortex. 2015; 67: 74-82
  • Wheeler, B. W., White, M., Stahl-Timmins, W., & Depledge, M. H. (2012). Does living by the coast improve health and wellbeing?. Health & place18(5), 1198-1201.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.