Do Ocean Views Make Happier People?
A series of news stories started coming out around 2016 and on when studies came out seeming to show that being by the ocean and living by the ocean both seemed to be a factor in helping to make people happy. This came in a variety of ways including lower stress levels, far fewer reports of depression, and just a general overall feeling of better well-being. Altogether, this definitely leads to happier people.
So do these early news reports hold up, or is this another example of the news media taking a study way out of context and not getting it? Read on to find out!
Ocean Views Seem to Encourage Happiness
This isn’t just a one off study, but it has appeared repeatedly. One example was published in “Health & Place” Journal and strongly confirmed by studies from the University of New Zealand while another study came out of Michigan State University. Both came to the same conclusion: that frequent exposure to “blue space” like the sea resulted in less psychological disorders, more calm, and fewer reported cases of depression.
There are several reasons this could be. Both studies, as well as others done, showed that people who live by the coast or are staying by the coast tend to sleep much better. Something about the smell of sea water and the wind off the water helps to improve overall sleeping habits and better sleep has been shown to be a powerful way to help fight depression.
In addition to this, it seems that people who live near the ocean tend to be more active. That means more sunlight, more exercise, and more physical activity even if this just means a lot of walks on the beach. This combination has been known to help with keeping anxiety, stress, and depression at bay if not straight out cure it in some cases. More exercise also means less chance of becoming overweight or obese which is a well-known cause of depression and unhappiness.
These findings, along with the overwhelming experience based response from those who live or frequent the water, seems to confirm that yes, ocean views actually do make people happier.
Is There Any Proof?
On the other side of the argument is the fact that in many places having a great ocean view means an expensive property. The only people who can afford an expensive property are those who are well-off. Studies have shown that up to a certain income money does make people happier, so the advantages of not being in poverty and being wealthy or at least comfortable could be the main reason behind the happier people and not so much the ocean.
The other group who often loves the ocean: vacationers. Being on vacation is a great way to relieve stress and very few people would rather be at work or at home than on vacation, which could be another factor that is affecting people when they say they feel happier by the ocean.
Neither of these necessarily mean that ocean views don’t contribute to making a person happier but they could be other factors that influence why this “ocean view happiness” effect actually seems to exist.
However, one could even argue that this is semantics talking about what causes the excess happiness, but even with these “but maybe” reasons, there’s no denying the boost in overall happiness experienced by many people.
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