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Chairs and umbrellas on the beach in Hilton Head.

Science Finds That Visiting the Beach is Good for Your Brain

A scientist has confirmed what folks on Hilton Head Island have known for a long time: spending time on the beach is good for you! In his book Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do, marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols explores the variety of mental benefits that come with visiting the beach.

As described in a HuffPost review of the book, Nichols believes that being near the water triggers a “blue mind,” which is “a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment.” Read on to learn four of the most important benefits that come from engaging your “blue mind” at the beach.

1. The Beach Gives Your Brain a ResetA beautiful beach in Hilton Head at sunset.

During our everyday lives, we are bombarded with sensory stimuli from our devices, TV, radio, traffic, and other sources. When you visit the beach, however, you can take a much-needed break from overstimulation. The simple sounds of the waves and the calming views of the water are a welcome change from an urban environment, “where you’re taking in millions of pieces of information every second.”

2. The Beach Can Induce a Meditative State

Gazing out at the water can foster a mildly meditative state that Nichols calls a “soft fascination.” This feeling of “soft fascination,” in which your brain is relaxed but focused, is also known as mindfulness. Scientists have found that people who routinely practice mindfulness have less stress and anxiety, sleep better, and enjoy more mental clarity.

3. The Beach Can Make You Feel More Compassionate and Connected

Visiting the beach and taking in all of the majestic scenery often inspires a feeling of awe. In an interview with HuffPost, Nichols explains that this sense of awe gives you that “one with the universe feeling” in which “you feel connected to yourself, the world around you, and whoever you happen to be with.” These deep feelings of connection are what make the beach perfect for romantic retreats and weddings.

A scenic beach in Hilton Head.4. The Beach Fosters Creativity

Have you ever had a great idea or solved a problem while letting your mind wander in the shower? This same experience frequently happens to people visiting the beach. When you step away from screens and devices for a little while, you activate your “default mode network”, a brain network that is linked with imagination, daydreaming, insight, introspection, and the consolidation of memories. There is nothing like a walk along the beach to get your creative juices flowing!

Beaches in Hilton Head

Fox News named Hilton Head’s beaches the best in the nation, and it’s easy to see why! Boasting 11 miles of scenic shoreline, our island’s beaches are perfect for swimming, walking, biking, and just relaxing in the sand. For more information, check out our complete guide to Beaches and Parks in Hilton Head.

Where to Stay in Hilton HeadThe patio of a Hilton Head vacation rental with beautiful views of the beach.

When you stay with Hilton Head Properties Realty & Rentals, you will be near all of the island’s beautiful beaches. Our vacation rentals come with your choice of wonderful amenities, including fully furnished kitchens, outdoor grills, internet access, flat screen TVs, and private swimming pools. With everything from 1 bedroom properties to 7 bedroom properties, we are guaranteed to have the ideal accommodations for your getaway. To start planning your escape, browse our selection of Hilton Head vacation rentals!