Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, we took a trip up to Kohler, WI. After dropping the boys off at the Golf Course, I headed to Kohler-Andre State Park. If you have yet to go there and are in/around the Wisconsin area. It's more than worth the trip. The park sits right up against Lake Michigan and has some breathtaking views. The beach lines the lake for miles, giving way to new sites around every turn. Additionally, there are various hiking spots when you are ready to take a break from the beach.
For ocean lovers who can’t get to one as often as you want, the view here will help fill your “ocean desire” cup!
Walking up and down the beach that day, my mind hit the point of "nothing." It's that sweet spot when our minds aren’t thinking about anything.
Not thinking about work or clients.
Not thinking about my next piece of writing content.
Not thinking about what needs to happen when I get home.
Not thinking about anything on my to-do list or that next action for my business.
And not overthinking or worrying about anything!
When I am alone by the water, it is one of the most soothing spaces to re-center my mind, body, and emotional equilibrium.
There is a comedy routine that comes to mind at this moment, by Mark Gungor, about Men's Brains and women's brains. The long and short of it is that men can easily get to a “nothing box” space, whereas for women, our brains tend to be constantly thinking about something. Of course, this may not always be the case on one side or the other, but in general, it may take longer for women to get to a space of nothingness.
When I recognized that I was in this “nothingness” place while walking the beach that afternoon, I just as quickly noticed and connected to how freeing and good it felt in my mind and body. It was a keen reminder that I must spend more time at the beach!
Several aspects of being on a beach are proven to help support the mind, body, and spirit. I would assert that they impact each of us slightly differently as we are each made up of different DNA.
Let’s take a look at why being near the water can have such a profound impact.
The sound of the water!
From the crashing waves hitting the beach to the sounds of water in a stream in the middle of the woods. Sounds of water help calm the mind. Water also has a powerful impact on the parasympathetic nervous system (our rest/digest response). Activating our PNS can help conserve energy in the body. Even the simple act of drinking a glass of water can impact your mind and nervous system!
Walking in the sand!
Walking in the sand creates a number of physical, emotional, and energetic benefits. First, walking, on the whole, is great for your body and mind. The additional resistance that walking in sand creates may also help strengthen feet, back, calves, glutes, and quadriceps. Walking barefoot in the sand is also a form of grounding. Grounding is shown to help improve sleep, normalize day-night sleep rhythm, reduce pain, reduce stress, shift to Parasympathetic Nervous System, and reduce inflammation, to name a few.
Seeing the color Blue!
The color blue is shown to induce a feeling of calm and peace. According to several sources, it may also reduce anxiety, aggression, and blood pressure. Walking on the beach incorporates multiple shades of blue, from the sky to the water.
Good ole Vitamin D!
The best and most natural way to get this vital nutrient, Vitamin D, is from the sun. Vitamin D serves an essential role in organ, bone, and tissue health. It also helps reduce infection and inflammation.
What better way to get this necessary nutrient than to go for a stroll on the beach?
Listening to and watching people play/having fun!
Now, this one may be somewhat person-specific. But something about hearing kids and people laugh and play makes my heart and face smile.
And, if you are going to the beach with friends or family, be sure to bring your favorite balls, buckets, and shovels to play in the water and sand. Play has a whole host of benefits!
Seeing and petting the four-legged friends!
This one may be another person specific, but I can tell you that whether I’m walking in our local town or on a beach when I see a friendly four-legged approaching me, I'll always take a moment to get some petting in. Just check with their owners first; that’s a must!
And there is proven science behind this one. Several studies show that petting a dog for even ten minutes can help lower blood pressure, slow breathing, relax muscle tension, alleviate stress and/or anxiety, and even help reduce the stress hormone cortisol.
For my fellow creatives reading. If you are in a creative slump, plan your beach time! The calm and peace that the beach offers often allow us to free up our thoughts, making way for our imagination to run wild.
Take a day and plan your next day near the water. Whether it's your local watering hole, stream, river, or a trip to the beach, your body and mind will thank you!