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Happy, happy, happy on the beach

Life's a beach and when you're there, happiness is just one of the positive by-products.

Coastal living is good for your health. That's great news for residents in the Coastal Bend area around Corpus Christi. The rest of you can reap the benefits by planning your next vacation here.

This terrific revelation comes from a recent study done by researchers at the University of Exeter in England. Reasons for a happy coastal population: more opportunities for stress reduction and increased physical activity.

And, yes, just visiting a seaside area works for increasing levels of happiness. Yet another British study showed visitors to the beach had feelings of calm and refreshment above and beyond those who went to a park.

"It is time to move beyond a simple urban vs. rural debate and start looking at the effect that different natural environments have on people's health and well-being," said the researcher of that study, Dr. Mathew White of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health.

You don't actually have to be here — but it helps

When you can't get to the coast, you can always look at pictures you took from your last vacation to reap the benefits of the beach.

Those same researchers are now experimenting with people in stressful situations (think dental surgery). So far, test results show less pain for those who have a seaside setting to turn to during times of stress.

One application could be in therapy. Could troubled youth be prescribed surfing lessons to improve mental health? It's certainly possible if test results continue to indicate beach-going benefits

For now, why not conduct your own study? Head for the beach as soon as possible and see how happy you feel!

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