“People are being tourists in their own backyard," says Ellen Bradley, chief brand officer for NMMA. "And they’re doing it for the stress relief.”
Marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols has a term for that calm, meditative state that can be achieved by being close to water: Blue Mind. Being near or in water can lower stress and anxiety, he told USA TODAY in a 2017 interview about his book on the topic.
"I just want it to be common knowledge that sitting by the water quietly is really good for you," he said. "And I want parents and teachers to teach our young people that ... and tell them if you are having a bad day, get to the water and you will feel much better."
My personal findings are consistent with Nichols'. I can quickly go from being anxious indoors about the state of the world, to having my worries melt into the bay. When I return to shore, I feel more empowered to take on the day.
And so I shall continue to channel my inner Moana and answer the ocean’s call.