There’s a reason why it feels so good to spend time by the ocean.
Psychologist Dr. Paulette Sherman says saltwater releases tons of negative ions. And, once we breathe those ions in, they enter our bloodstream, boosting oxygen levels in our cells and increasing the production of the calming, happiness-boosting neurotransmitter serotonin. In fact, studies show that people who regularly spend time near the ocean tend to be more energetic and less depressed than people who are rarely near the water.
But if you’re landlocked, don’t worry. Go float in a pool. Researchers at the University of Delaware found that relaxing in water blocks out extraneous noise, and gives our senses a break from over-stimulation. That creates a meditative calm. Even watching water flow electronically works. Dr. Sherman says brain scans show that watching waves crash, or a waterfall splash, whether electronically or in real life, is calming and reduces the production of stress hormones.