That calming ocean breeze, the gentle crashing of the waves, the nostalgia of fish ‘n’ chips or a well-deserved cocktail in hand – whether you’re on staycation or you’ve ventured out for a day by the coast, it turns out that a little ‘vitamin sea’ really is good for the soul. Our partner, Oceanographic Magazine investigates the correlation between the great blue and a happy state of mind.
Whether you spend time on, in or near the water, you’ll know how much of a positive impact it can have on your mental health. Proven to have psychologically restorative effects, dedicating regular time to being in aquatic environments can lead to a reduction in negative mood and stress.
Of course, this is nothing new. The Romans famously saw public bathing as a civil right and constructed a number of sites – most notably, The Roman Baths in the city of Bath – throughout the 5th century. The hammam was a core hub for social gatherings throughout the Ottoman Empire and the Finnish sauna ritual (followed by rolling in snow or leaping into an icy lake) has been documented as far back as 7000BC. In England, the Hampstead Heath bathing ponds were originally dug out in the 17th and 18th centuries, and Victorian physicians prescribed seaside holiday to improve health ailments and the Public Baths and Wash-houses Act was passed in 1846.
Back in Issue 01 of Oceanographic, surfer and marine social scientist Dr Easkey Britton shares her thoughts: ‘Wave-exposed coastlines could have added benefits with research suggesting that negative ions released by breaking waves alter our biochemistry and light up our mood, relieving stress. A recent study in England by the European Centre for Environment and Human Health found that living near the coast can make us healthier.’
‘Wave-exposed coastlines could have added benefits with research suggesting that negative ions released by breaking waves alter our biochemistry…’
Of course, not all of us can be lucky enough to live near the coast. A propensity to visit regularly also has great value, as does simply finding your nearest river, lake, stream or brook and dedicating time in your week to mosey along its banks. For the more active among us, see what activities you can do to get you on the water. Wild swimming has exploded in popularity across the UK, as has paddleboarding, both of which you can do in cities like London, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Belfast. Rowing, boating, rambling, diving and freediving all serve as brilliant alternatives.
Studies have found that physically being out in nature provides a transition towards thinking outwards towards the environment and can help put life into perspective. Water-based activities do add another element as you have to focus on and tune in with the natural elements, whether that be wind force, currents, tides or changing weather. Whatever it is that is connecting you to the water, you are immersed in that blue space, which can be incredibly meditative. In fact, simply looking at a body of water changes our brain frequency, which puts us into a more meditative state. Whether it’s crashing waves or ripples created by tiny fish – large bodies of water allow us to surrender, even just for an hour or so.
‘Our bodies have been shaped and formed by water – we have an ocean inside us. Like the Earth, we are 70% saltwater,’ Dr. Britton writes, in Issue 04. We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.
Pick up your copy of Oceanographic Magazine from your local Crew store and online here.