Nearly 77% of employees don’t take all of their eligible time off, according to a survey from Glassdoor. And that’s a shame because slaying away at work and at home all day every day can take a toll. In case you needed more motivation to set that pile of work papers aside and hit the beach, know that recent research shows that spending time near the water does your body and mind a lot of good.

According to an analysis of English census data published in the journal Health Place, people who live by the ocean report better physical and mental health than those who live inland. And living in a home with an ocean view can make you feel calmer than those without, according to a study published in the Journal of Coastal Zone Management. So it makes sense that Hawaii is regularly ranked as the happiest state in the United States by the annual Gallup poll.

But you don’t have to move your life to reap the benefits of the sea. Neuroscientists and psychologists urge that just being near the sun and surf has proven powerful effects that can impact your brain and make you a more productive person in the long run.

It can sometimes be hard to see how walking away from your giant workload (only to return to it twice the size) does anything but add more stress. But the science is clear: you need an ocean vacation. Here’s what scientists say a beach trip can do for your well being:

The beach is good for your brain, studies show

1. Helps fight depression

You’ve felt it before: breathing in that sea air means you’re charging yourself up with negative ions, which help balance the chemicals in the brain. This combats feeling of depression.

The beach is good for your brain, studies show

2. Boosts creativity

For all of you workaholics out there, being stuck in the day-to-day demands of your job can leave you with tunnel vision. New experiences and relaxation can help inspire you. A study published in the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s journal says that a trip to the ocean will boost your creative. So go see what the sea has to offer your career.

The beach is good for your brain, studies show

3. Alleviates stress

Those one-of-a-kind smells and sounds of the ocean actually help to lower cortisol levels, leading to less stress. Go to the shore and take a deep breath for your daily dose of ocean and feel yourself decompress and your worries fade away.

The beach is good for your brain, studies show

4. Helps you focus

Those negative ions also work to increase your alertness and focus. You’ll become sharper simply by breathing in ocean air. When you return to work, you’ll be refreshed and ready to concentrate on your next big task.

The beach is good for your brain, studies show

5. Makes you relax

The color blue is known to invoke feelings of peach and relaxation. Being near the sea and listening to the sounds has the same effect. It’s a full on sensory experience in calm. Whether you just stare out at the horizon, relax on a float, or read a book on the beach, you’re taking much needed time to rewind.

So if you haven’t used your time off this year yet, it’s time to pack your bags and hit the beach.

Science says so.

Sources: NIL, Psych Central

ALSO TRY: Sand dollar sugar cookies are perfect for your trip to the beach.

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.