Sea the Differences: Exploring the Healing Power of the Ocean on Mental Health

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

The ocean has special way of capturing our hearts and minds, evoking feelings of tranquility. For centuries, people have been drawn for the sea of its beauty and restorative powers. However, beyond its beauty, we have to know the benefits for our emotional wellbeing, from reducing stress and anxiety, to improving overall mood, the sea has the power to heal us.

The United Nations [1]  considers that there are 5 reasons why a healthy ocean is linked to human rights: The ocean is our life support system, “one-third of the total human population, nearly 2.4 billion people, live within 100 km (60 miles) of an oceanic coast”; the ocean provides food, jobs and livelihoods, “the annual economic value of the ocean is estimated at USD $2.5 trillion, equivalent to the world’s 7th largest economy”; the ocean helps fight the climate crisis, “the ocean moderates the climate and influences our weather. Since the start of the industrial period, it has stored more than 90% of the heat from human-climate change and one-third of the world’s carbon emissions”.

Additionally, the ocean is home to vast biodiversity, “according to the Convention on Biological Diversity [2] , deep-seabed habitats alone host between 500,000 and 10 million species. But it is hard to know for sure, as some 80% of the ocean remains unexplored and 91% of marine species remain undescribed.” The ocean provides wellbeing benefits to all humanity, “like the rights to water, health, livelihoods and a clean environment, the ocean has a fundamental role to play [3] .”

On the other hand, according to NBC News [4]  “the smell of the ocean breeze also contributes to your soothed state which may have something to do with the negative ions in the air that you are breathing in. These oxygen atoms have an extra electron and occur in places like waterfalls and the ocean.” For Richard Shuster, PsyD, clinical psychologist and host of The Daily Helping podcast [5] , “the color blue has been found by an overwhelming amount of people to be associated with feelings of calm and peace”.

Other mental health benefits of the sea include: benefits of the beach, it is a change of scenery, it improves overall wellbeing, it lowers stress, it lifts your mood, etc [6] . Additionally, it relieves symptoms of depression, it encourages you to exercise, helps with insomnia, gives you time to contemplate and boosts creativity [7] . In conclusion, the ocean is more than a beautiful backdrop of photos. It has the power to soothe our minds, calm our worries and heal our souls and, find a sense of peace that can be hard to come by in our hectic daily lives.









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