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The Ocean Heals Us - Let’s Help It Heal Too

By Elena Zevallos

August 11, 2020

A book written by Wallace J. Nicholas titled Blue Mind: The Surprising Benefits of Being Near, In, Or Under Water was released over six years ago. The impact it had on our society’s consciousness was influential, and many people have taken strides to experience the power of water on their mental health since then. Researchers have been exploring the science behind what makes it so healing: our stress level lowers, heart rate slows, breathing neutralizes, and the sense of peace and calm overcomes negative emotions. The results have proved to us what we already intuitively know about the water's immense help on our psyche.


Studies are now showing that ocean water has a more powerful effect on our health than any other water body. People who’ve experienced a traumatic incident, lost a loved one, suffer from depression, grief or anxiety, and other uncomfortable issues often experience an “emotional cleansing” upon being near the ocean. Science is showing us that the sound of the waves alters our own brain’s wavelength patterns, which automatically allows the mind to open up and enter a deep meditative state. Negative ions, produced by water molecules and are most prevalent in the ocean mist, are shown to have potent antidepressant effects. 


This year has been an unending anxiety-fueling experience for everyone across the globe. And if we’re seeking external outlets to gain perspective or therapeutic growth, let’s remember that the ocean is a balm that’s always been there to ground and alleviate us from our human problems. But it’s also something we can help heal as well, isn’t it? 


There are thousands of individuals and organizations across the globe that are taking great strides to create positive impacts on the marine environment. For example, marine sanctuaries globally are being pushed to expand and become established by individuals, organizations, and governments. Taking this to a local example, there’s the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary, which is currently being pushed by the NOAA as well as a few California senators to become established as a designated sanctuary. If this proposal successfully passes, the amount of protected ocean from Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to Santa Barbara's Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary would amount to 15,711 square nautical miles. Protected marine sites such as Chumash, Monterey and Channel Islands would mean no offshore oil drilling or mining. Imagine that!


Our oceans contain some of the most fragile ecosystems on the planet and yet they are experiencing multiple oil spills each year, growing garbage piles, pesticides leaking from agricultural sites, industrial plant discharge, plastic pollution, and overfishing - to name a few. The U.S. Department of Energy has reported 1.3 million gallons of oil leaks into U.S. waters each year from pipelines and vessels alone.


Let’s put more focus on restoring nature, and remember that we can heal the very thing that heals us, too.

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