The sea and the ocean have a great impact on our way of thinking, feeling and relaxing.
It is well known that our brain is constantly changing, even when we sleep or when we think we have a blank mind.
This is what is known as brain plasticity : everything we experience causes our brain (and our nervous system) to change in real time. That means there is no time when our mind remains as it was a while ago.
However, there are certain experiences that modify our mental life in a more consistent way than others. In other words, the type of changes that they introduce in our brain are more recognizable and uniform. This is the case of what happens during meditation or, for example, when we feel that we are facing the sea or the ocean.
Our mind changes when the sea surrounds us
There are many poets for whom the sea has been an element of clear inspiration; Pablo Neruda, for example, always referred to this gigantic body of water in his poems. And that is not by chance: the sea causes a great impact when seen, and staying on its shores or waters for a while makes the activity of our brain change a lot.
Let’s see how it influences us.
1. Get us to relax and get out of alertness
The sea transmits a feeling of tranquility that extends to all parts of the body. The continuous and soft sound of the waves and the omnipresence of the color blue (which not only appears in the water, but also in a sky that is not covered by mountains or buildings in the sea) make us relax deeply.
In addition, near the sea it is difficult to leave blind spots in which possible dangers hide, because almost everything is flat and in sight. The consequence of this is that we can allow ourselves to move away from the alert state into which our sympathetic nervous system introduces us when we detect sources of stress.
2. Facilitates meditation
The visual and sound stimuli related to the sea and the sound of the waves are very characteristic, and alter the activity of our brain. Specifically, they enhance the appearance of alpha waves, related to a state of relaxation and little effort in which, however, the ability to manage the focus of attention does not disappear, something that does not occur during sleep.
When neurons start firing following the pattern of alpha waves, the ease of carrying out activities such as meditation and mindfulness is enhanced; that is why secluded beaches are a place where normal meditation or tai chi is frequently practiced.
3. It allows breaking with rumination
The rumination is this vicious circle that follows our thinking when we obsess concern. Natural environments such as forests have proven to be good locations to walk through so that rumination disappears, and the same happens with the sea.
This is so because both the sea and the forests are places in which there are hardly any elements that can be interpreted as references to our daily life, so our thinking can disengage from these obsessions, since nothing we see, touch or we hear reminds us of our problems.
4. Generates low cost wellness
Experiencing the immensity of the sea produces a curious form of well-being that arises from something as simple as attending to the stimuli related to this type of natural setting. It is a kind of hypnotic effect in which we can remain for a long time and in which, surely, our cultural heritage plays an important role.
5. Boost creativity
Contexts that induce a fast and obsessive focus on the exterior for a long time have been found to produce stress and negatively affect the solution of novel problems. This is so because our brain adapts to detect specific external stimuli very quickly, instead of devoting resources to connecting ideas together.
The sea, by facilitating relaxation and providing a simple environment made up of few elements, facilitates our creativity to free itself, causing ideas that have never been related before to connect with each other.