As the daily grind wears you out, it is natural to seek out a vacation getaway that will get your mind off work and responsibilities as you bask in the ambiance of peace and serenity. One of the most common ways that people do this is by going to the beach or the ocean.
However, have you ever wondered why people gravitate towards going to the beach to clear their mind? If beaches and oceans did not offer affordable vacation packages, would you still spend money on going to the beach?
The practice of going to the beach or walking along the shoreline can be traced back to the Victorian times, when doctors would prescribe a trip to the sea to alleviate a range of ailments. Despite this practice, there’s no scientific explanation that supports the ocean as a medical cure.
Thankfully, a recent study conducted by Professor Michael Depledge, former chief scientist for the Environment Agency and founder of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) in Plymouth three years ago, proves that being in the presence of “blue space” – seas, rivers, and lakes – brings a positive effect to a person’s well-being.
Along with his team and the help of environmental psychologist Mat White, Depledge showed photographs of different landscapes to his test subjects. First, stress levels of participants decreased when shown pictures with green space on them. This aligned with the findings of Roger Ulrich, who ran the same experiment and proved that seeing “green space” such as nature and the outdoor improves one’s health. However, White noticed something different with his experiment:
“We started introducing water into the images…going from a pond right through to a coastline, with increasing amounts of water in the images, and we found that people showed a strong preference for more and more water in the images.
“We repeated that with urban scenes, from fountains in squares to canals running through the city, and once again people hugely preferred the urban environments with more water in them.”
While Depledge was unable to provide a logical explanation to the relationship between people’s well-being and blue space, “neuro-conservationist” and author of “Blue Mind” Wallace J. Nichols offers a sensible reason on how the the ocean – its sound, in particular – has an indelible effect to one’s mood:
“There’s a growing body of research on nostalgia, music and memory looking at which songs give you chills, a measurable physiological response. It turns out that in your teens — between ages 16 and 21 — you are most likely to put down many of these nostalgic memories. So, I’m hypothesizing, if you spend important time near the ocean during your teenage years, those sounds become part of your soundtrack. They’re the sounds you become most nostalgic about for the rest of your life.”
Nichols later adds that study of the ocean and its neurological effects to people is a tricky one since there’s no substantial data to quantify their hypotheses. This is the reason why he organized the Bluemind Summit in 2011 – to usher discourse about the ocean from a scientific perspective.
As scientific studies about the ocean are still in their infancy, this shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the blue space made available to you. Aside from going to the beach, another way of maximizing your getaway is by booking a cruise ship vacation, preferably in the Caribbean with your loved ones.
“The Caribbean is always one of the most popular destinations,” says a Holiday Cruise Line Representative. “St. Martin, St. John, Antigua, St. Thomas, and Santa Cruz just to name a few are some of the most picturesque archipelagos in the entire world. And the fact they’re so close to Florida makes going on cruises one of the most exciting things you can do with your family.”
Holiday Cruise Line offers affordable vacation packages to the Bahamas to relieve guests from stress and clear their mind. The package, known as the Bahamas Celebraton, is awarded as the “Best Bahamas Getaway Cruise” for the third consecutive year by Porthole Magazine.
“Your mental health is imperative, and using a vacation, especially a cruise to relax, wind down, and recharge your internal batteries is a great way to stay healthy.”
So what really is the key to a rejuvenating getaway? Sometimes, when something that you can’t explain makes you feel good, you just stop asking question.