Research has found that people with depression, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s all lack vitamin D, which your body produces when your skin is exposed to direct sunlight.
And recent British studies have confirmed that views of the ocean and other blue spaces make us happier than other landscapes.
Some researchers think the reason could be evolutionary, that our biggest step was learning to catch fish, which added omega-3 fatty acids to our diet. (Omega-3’s have been known to lower rates of depression.)
Others, like Wallace J. Nichols, a scientist and author of Blue Mind, a forthcoming book about how water improves our health and mood, point to the feelings of awe and wonder we have when we gaze at oceans, lakes, or rivers.
“It spurs the brain to release a mix of dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins,” Nichols says. “It gives us a sense of oneness with the universe.”