New Scientist article The ocean is a huge, beautiful place to visit, and for the majority of us it’s a wonderful place to go swimming.
But what does the ocean do for us?
Is it an amazing place to work, play and eat?
Is there anything that’s really special about it that we can’t find in our daily lives?
Is the ocean the place we go to escape our stresses and worries?
Or are we just simply drawn to it because we’re interested in its beauty?
It turns out there are some interesting reasons why we like the ocean, and it’s not just because it’s so beautiful.
And in a recent paper published in Nature Communications, researchers from the University of Cambridge have revealed that this fascination for the ocean has a lot to do with our physiology.
The study suggests that our attraction to the ocean is an evolutionary adaptation that has evolved in response to the stress and tension we experience in everyday life.
In other words, our brain can’t cope with the fact that we’re constantly in a state of stress or tension and can’t help but notice the beauty of the ocean.
This means that the ocean gives us a sense of being ‘safe’, and our physiology has evolved to cope with this.
And what is the evolutionary reason for this?
The study involved more than 30 subjects from the United Kingdom who were given a brief survey on their personalities and physiological state before being tested in the lab.
Each subject had their blood pressure checked and recorded, and they were then asked to take part in a test of their physical performance.
Then they were asked to write down the most pleasurable and least pleasurable experiences they’d had during the past 24 hours, and to rate the extent to which they felt the sea reflected this.
The results revealed that people with a greater sense of wellbeing and physical health were more attracted to the sea than people with an unhealthy sense of health.
And the researchers found that when the subjects were asked about the feelings of being in a stressful situation, they were more likely to be drawn to the beach and the sea, as well as to the calming and soothing qualities of the water.
This explains why, when asked to imagine the sea as a kind of virtual playground, they felt a sense in a very real way of ‘being safe’ and ‘being secure’.
“People with an abnormally high sense of happiness and physical wellbeing are drawn to a sense that they are safe and secure and also the ocean,” said lead researcher Dr Richard Jones.
“These are the kinds of emotions that our brains naturally associate with the ocean.”
This may also explain why some people feel the ocean as an escape from their daily worries.
It’s possible that this is because our bodies respond to the environment differently to those with low levels of wellbeing.
“It could be that we respond to stress in a way that’s similar to that of animals that are stressed, and the stress-resolving behaviour we experience is similar to those animals,” Dr Jones explained.
“And therefore it’s likely that the animals we see in the wild respond to their environment in the same way that we do.”
This suggests that it’s our sense of physical wellbeing that helps us to feel safe and safe in our environments.
And Dr Jones and his colleagues have published their findings in Nature Medicine, and hope that this will lead to the development of new therapies that can boost the wellbeing of people with mental health problems.
“Our study has shown that the feeling of being safe and being secure is an evolved response to our biology and is an important evolutionary adaptation in response for us to live our lives,” Dr Davies said.
“This could potentially lead to new therapeutic approaches for people with disorders such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.”
This research could lead to an improved understanding of how and why people with certain diseases experience an enhanced sense of well-being. “
We also need to keep in mind that our physiology and our biology are only one of the components of our wellbeing.
Read more: Scientists discover why we love the ocean”
There are a number of other potential explanations for this and our research may help us to find them.”
Read more: Scientists discover why we love the ocean