For many people – surfers and non-surfers alike – the experience of standing on the shore and gazing out at the ocean is deeply satisfying. There is something uniquely calming and contemplative about an ocean vista – something that touches us on an emotional level, but is nonetheless difficult to put into words, or even fully understand.
That, however, is precisely what one researcher is trying to do. An article in Outside Magazine details how marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols believes that humans have an inherent, deep-seated “need” for aquatic environments – like oceans. He argues that this need is not only psychological and aesthetic but may, in fact, be biological as well. He contends that our minds are linked to the oceans in a still little understood but fundamental way, and that contemplation of oceanic environments actually produces neurological benefits that aid in such things as mood elevation, stress reduction, increased concentration, and better memory, among others.