Mental Health Benefits of the Beach

mental health benefits of the beach

If you close your eyes and picture the most relaxing setting you can imagine, there’s a good chance it’s a beautiful beach. Many people associate some of their happiest memories with beach vacations – a chance to leave daily worries behind and soak up some sunshine. That’s probably because being at the beach has proven mental health benefits!

1. De-Stress

Surrounding yourself with nature has a calming effect that can reduce your stress levels. The beach also provides soothing sensory input from the sound of ocean waves meeting the shore and the feel of warm sand beneath your feet. Spending time at the beach can lessen nervous system arousal – something that contributes to your excess anxiety. 

2. Change Your Surroundings

Humans crave novel experiences. That’s why doing the same things day after day feels so mind-numbing. Getting stuck in a rut can also be stressful. When you shake things up and travel to the beach, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to try new foods or activities, giving you a better outlook on life.

3. Get Some Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for your physical and mental health. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to issues like depression, schizophrenia and seasonal affective disorder. While you can get vitamin D from some foods, your body also produces it naturally with exposure to sunlight. When you’re at the beach, you’ll want to spend more time outside enjoying the beautiful scenery, which will boost your mood with extra vitamin D production.

4. Exercise

Exercise is excellent for your emotional and psychological well-being, but it can be challenging to maintain a consistent workout routine if you get bored easily. The beach will inspire you to get active, whether you prefer walking or running through the sand or hopping into the water for a refreshing swim.

5. Meditate

Have you ever tried to meditate, only to realize you couldn’t maintain the necessary mental focus? The good news is that the beach can serve as a form of mindfulness meditation by engaging your senses, giving you a way to ground yourself by focusing on the unique sounds, sights and smells of being near the ocean.    

6. Unplug and Unwind

By now, you’ve probably learned that excessive screen time can harm your mental health. Still, many people have trouble disconnecting from their smartphones and other devices. Some of us check our phones almost reflexively when we hear an incoming notification alert, then get distracted and spend the next several minutes playing games or scrolling mindlessly through social media. Being at the beach almost automatically puts you into a more relaxed state of mind, making it easier to do a digital detox by disabling your alerts. Try putting your phone on airplane mode – you might even forget it’s there.

7. Find Your Higher Power

If you are following a 12-step recovery program, you can use your beach trip as a spiritual experience. Many non-religious people find success in the 12 steps by associating their higher power with something awe-inspiring, like the majesty of nature. Something about the beach calls to our planet’s primordial connection with the ocean, which can be an almost transcendent experience.

Recovering in St. Augustine, FL

When choosing a place to begin your addiction recovery journey, Augustine Recovery is here for you. We maintain a beautiful campus surrounded by nine acres of forest, with 12-step groups that meet on the pier. Our amenities include multiple opportunities to experience the beach and connect with the natural world. Explore our men’s and women’s residential facilities, then reach out to us today.