Going to the beach as a child, those were some of the best childhood memories for many of us. The warmth of the sun, the feeling of sand between our toes, the smell of the saltwater and the calming whoosh of the waves. Now, science has caught up to what our child’s brain already knew. The beach is one of the best places to go if we need to relieve stress and produce calm in our lives. The Sound of Crashing Waves One of the reasons the beach is such a relaxing, calming place for us is the repetitive sound of crashing waves on the shore. According to Orfeu Buxton, an associate professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State, “These slow, whooshing noises are the sounds of non-threats, which is why they work to calm people. It’s like they’re saying: Don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t worry.” These relaxing sounds of waves can help us achieve meditative states in our brains, which calm and soothe us, and help us heal our stressed-out brains. Not only that, many of us experience the best sleep of our lives at the beach. The restful sounds of the waves work with our brains’ natural rhythms to produce deep, relaxing sleep which is one of the most important things our body needs to heal and release stress. The Color of the Water Another reason a trip to the beach can be healthy for our brains and bodies is the actual color of the water. The color blue has been proven to produce relaxing responses in our brain. Blue has been used by psychologists and behaviorists to help relax patients. The color blue brings to mind feelings of tranquility and serenity in most people, so submerging yourself in a beach vacation by the blue waters can help you bring calmness and serenity to your own mind. In a recent article in Inc.com, Richard Shuster, PsyD, clinical psychologist stated, “Staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us in a mild meditative state.” The Smell of the Salt Water The air just smells different at the beach. Have you ever stopped to wonder why that first breath of ocean air when we arrive at our beach vacation is just about the best breath of air you’ve ever had? Our bodies just seem to respond happily to that first deep, cleansing breath of salt water air. One of the reasons for this is the ocean air actually has negative ions. Negative ions in the air aren’t negative for us. In fact, they’re quite helpful to our bodies. The highest concentration of negative ions is found in nature–such as the beach. Negative ions revitalize cell metabolism, purify the blood, rid the air of allergens and pollen that can cause us discomfort, and they balance the autonomic nervous system to promote deep sleep and relaxation. They have been proven to have an anti-depressant effect on our bodies. Breathing the ocean air is actually helping to calm your brain, relieve your stress, and make you healthier. The Texture of Sand Between Your Toes Walking barefoot in the sand has been proven to have a stimulating effect on our bodies and minds. Science calls this grounding. Our feet contain many nerves and acupuncture points and walking barefoot on the sand activates these points to help calm and relax us. We can also absorb ions from the earth’s surface through our feet the way our lungs absorb the ions from the salt air. According to the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the earth is negatively charged. When we walk barefoot, we’re connecting to that source of energy and that can trigger the warm feeling of calm and relaxation that helps our bodies and minds heal and become calm. Can’t Get to the Beach? Try BrainTapping for the Same Results Science has shown that the brain doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined. For example, if you’re watching a movie that activates a stress response (angry, fear, excitement, etc.), the brain processes those emotions as though they are happening in real-time and your body responds accordingly. Your conscious mind records the goals you set for yourself and sends that information to your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind works to find a solution to the problem it perceives such as experiencing stress and wanting to feel peaceful. The brain doesn’t argue about it. It seeks to solve the problem you have presented to it. You’ve heard all the benefits of a beach vacation, but what if your schedule, your budget, or your busy life doesn’t permit you to go to the beach? You can use the mindful meditations and guided visualizations available in the BrainTap Pro App to mimic the benefits of the beach without ever leaving your easy chair. Every BrainTap guided meditation allows time for you to take a mental vacation where you can relax on a beach, feeling the warm breeze, listening to the gentle waves, feeling the sand between your toes–and since your brain doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined, your body and brain will reap the benefits of your beach “vacation.” You’ll emerge from your BrainTap vacation feeling as refreshed as if you’d spent a relaxing day at the beach. If you want to learn more about our mental vacations, check out our guided meditation audio series Stress-Free Me HERE. For a free 15-day trial of the BrainTap Pro App where you can access all the wonderful stress-reducing audio sessions we have, click HERE.