The hues of Iceland's Blue Lagoon, Santorini's bright shores, the Maldives' turquoise waters: The cool color of the ocean or the blues of the sky can be calming, partly because of the associations we have with being outside, says Donald Hoffman, Ph.D., a professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine. Evolutionarily, a source of water is key to survival, too, potentially triggering positive emotions.

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