February 2013 Issue
by Barry Yeoman
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell us that a week at the beach makes us happier. Some of the reasons are obvious: We're surrounded by beauty. We face no deadlines. We can take control of our days - sleeping in, taking walks, reading good (or trashy) books, eating fresh food.
But it does take a brain scientist, or maybe a few, to help us really understand why just being near the water brings us such deep contentment. There's been precious little research into this question, and not much talk among experts. SOme studies have nibbled around the edges: The color blue has been shown to produce feelings of security and relaxation, and researcvhers have discovered that blood pressure and stress levels drop when people watch fish swimming in aquariums. But interest in the bigger question - the connection between the ocean and the human psyche - is now picking up, thanks in large part to the efforts of a 45-year-old sea turtle biologist named Wallace J. Nichols, Ph.D.
[pick up the magazine at the closest newstand to read more!]
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