Living Seaside Makes You Happier and Healthier

04/22/2012

Living seaside photoThis one hits close to home for me because I’ve experienced it myself. I moved from the Midlands of South Carolina to the coast about six months ago.

I have made a few changes since I moved to the Low Country of South Carolina. I’ve given up most dairy in addition to meat, which I parted with years ago. I’ve continued with my morning yoga and meditation practice but also added in an afternoon cardio session, whether it be jogging or walking on the beach. 

The Coast is the Best Natural Environment

In my time on the coast I’ve found myself to be a lot happier than I was when I lived inland. Is this a coincidence or is it reflected in my other life changes?

A new study, reported in Science Daily, shows it’s likely no coincidence at all. Rather, research by Katherine Ashbullby and Dr Mathew White from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH), Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, and the School of Psychology, University of Plymouth is showing that living seaside is good for your health and happiness. 

Read More: Handbook for Happiness: 8 Easy Tips For Living Your Best Life

They studied data from 2,750 individuals in Natural England's two-year study of people's engagement with the natural environment. They found that the outdoors are associated with positive feelings including happiness and calmness. But the degree to which the positive feelings occurred had to do with what kind of natural surrounding it was. Urban parks were the least effective and the coast was the most effective. 

Sleeping Soundly

Sleep is another important link to health and happiness. Not getting enough sleep is likely one of the most pressing health problems our fast paced society faces because it directly effects nearly every other part of our lives. Ever wondered why the lap of the waves against the shore helps you sleep more soundly?According to a study reported in the Daily Mail the sea air is "charged with healthy negative ions that accelerate our ability to absorb oxygen." These ions are better able to balance levels of seratonin, allowing you to feel more alert while at the same time relaxed and rejuvenated. The negative ions also help us to fall asleep and sleep soundly through the night.

Photo: Thinkstock

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Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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