How the Ocean Improves Psychological Health

June 3, 2016

Have you ever noticed how you feel when you're near the ocean? Whether listening to its tumbling waves, gazing out onto its glistening blue surface, or breathing in its fresh scent, the ocean tends to have a soothing influence on most of us. Now, science is beginning to prove it.

Emerging evidence from medical studies is revealing the ocean's positive psychological influence in a way that can actually be measured in the chemicals of the human body. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, has been measured at reduced levels in those exposed to contact with the ocean. At the same time, subjects show an increased levels of seratonin, oxytocin and dopamine, which are the three primary feel-good chemicals produced in the human body.

What are the effects of these chemicals? The studies point to the dramatic benefits of ocean access programs on people suffering from a wide variety of psychological difficulties. These include veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, young women with low self-esteem, and youth struggling with various types of psychological pressure and other challenges.

We've already talked about the physical health benefits of the ocean, and it's nice to know that there are psychological benefits as well. Thanks in part to our isolation, we are lucky to have some very clean shorelines here in Hawaii, which also house a rich array of biodiversity that delights all the curious explorers who have ventured to our tide pools and reefs. If you haven't done this yet, just hop aboard our Molokini Snorkeling Tour or perhaps our Lanai Snorkeling Tour to see what fascinating marine life you can discover in its natural habitat. It's a great way to add fun to the laundry list of benefits you can enjoy from your ocean experience.

A healthy and diverse marine ecosystem is an integral part of our enjoyment of the ocean. That's one of the reasons why we support the research of some of Hawaii's finest marine scientists. All the profit from our gift shop sales is sent to these scientists so they can continue to carry out their important work. If we want the ocean to continue enhancing our health, then we need to enhance the health of the ocean in turn.

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