If you’ve ever spent a day at the beach, taken a swim or gone kayaking out on the water, the chances are that you’ve felt the benefits of being in, on or near the Ocean. For many of us, a stroll by the seaside has always felt like the best medicine when feeling stressed, anxious or down – but is it a real tonic, or is it the placebo effect?
According to research, the beneficial effects of the Ocean are very real, and whether you’re the adventurous type who favours wild swimming, an activity enthusiast who enjoys partaking in watersports, or the kind of person who prefers to spend a relaxing day lounging in the sunshine, the chances are that your activity of choice will leave you with an increased sense of wellbeing long after you’ve gone home.
If you’ve ever wondered what the facts are about why the Ocean has such magical powers, then read on to find out the top three ways being in, on or near it can positively impact you – then make a little extra time in your day to get out there, make the most of it and reap the raft of benefits it provides.
Beaches – and more specifically, the Ocean – have been shown to have a calming effect on people. Stress is a major cause of illness in our society, but the Ocean has a way of relaxing us and taking us out of ourselves. There is just something about sitting with your bare feet in the sand and listening to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore that gives us a sense of peace, allowing us to escape from the stresses and strains of daily life and leave feeling renewed. Being by the sea encourages you to be mindful and in the moment – something that has been proven to help combat stress.
Being by the Ocean allows us to breathe in that incredible sea air- but there is far more to it than just that refreshing and rejuvenating saltiness alone. Ocean air is packed with beneficial negative ions, which are abundant in nature and offer a raft of benefits – not least of all, an improvement in mood. Once they reach your blood stream, it is thought that they produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the brain chemicals serotonin and melotonin – boosting daytime energy, alleviating depression and low mood and giving you a good night’s sleep.
Cleanses the mind, body and soul
The Ocean offers many cleansing qualities for the body, mind and spirit – whether you’re in it, on it, or simply looking at it. The salty sea air is a great tonic for the body, encouraging you to take deep breaths in of clean, pure air that is filled with beneficial negative ions. Immersing yourself in the Ocean, meanwhile, offers an instant awakening effect – especially if you’re plunging into UK waters! Not only that, but sea water can help to cleanse your pores and is packed with healthy, skin-friendly minerals including magnesium, calcium and potassium, which is why it can be beneficial for a range of skin conditions, too.
Even taking a walk or a jog along the beach has its benefits; not only is a little exercise good for the body and mind, but the sand has an exfoliating effect on the soles of your feet. An added benefit to being near the water, and one that might save you a trip to the beauty salon!
What if I don’t live near the Ocean?
Don’t live near the Ocean? Worry not – there are lots of ways you can reap the benefits, anywhere, any time. Why not try listening to some relaxing Ocean sounds while you meditate, or doing some mindful, Ocean-themed colouring? The great news is, it’s not just being near the Ocean that’s great for the mind, body and soul, and any body of water – whether it’s a lake, river or stream, can also offer some restorative effects. All water on our planet is connected, and all rivers lead to the Ocean – so wherever you are, you are connected to it.