Have you ever thought about just how much of an impact the ocean can have on your well-being? Spending some time by the sea listening to the waves crash on the shore and feeling the sand between your toes can be an absolute game changer. It can make you feel better instantly.
Rooting ourselves back in nature is a great way to heal and process mundane life. Not only do the waves of the shore act as an auditory hug but there are infinite pros to going by the sea.
In this article, I’ll share a few of my personal experiences I’ve had from living in Brighton and touch on exactly why the seaside is so powerful, along with the impact our surroundings have on our physiology and mental health.
By studying in Brighton, the impacts my surroundings had on my productivity became apparent by being drawn to the pier and the coastline in general.
I started to differentiate tourists from the native cold water swimmers in the morning and how in tune their bodies were with the waves.
The mesmerising mornings in Brighton gave me such a sense of calm while the buzz of the inner city inspired new ideas to write about and new artwork to explore. The rich culture surrounding Brighton alone fascinated me to learn about the benefits of the seaside.
The main benefits of the seaside
- The colour psychology of the colour blue
The negative connotation of blue reflects feelings of sadness and lethargy; the colour blue also evokes a sign of stability. The shades of blue – and perhaps brown in some cases – found on the coastline have been said to culturally symbolise tranquillity, dignity and decorum. The power and popularity of the colour spiritually evoke a sense of calm, which in a hectic household is necessary for that time out.
- Higher levels of oxygenation
If you have been stuck in cities for a while, like myself, you’ll learn that it affects you. Your body starts to feel heavy. However, you don’t quite realise the impact of pollution after a while. Thankfully, I don’t struggle with asthma, but I know many of my friends do. The oxygenation along the coast is higher, with vast open land inviting you to take a deep breath. After all, there is a reason we call it ‘sea air’.
- Reflection and meditation
I’ve always found meditation quite difficult to master in a closed-off room next to a main road. Unsurprisingly. However, I find walking across the sand opens up your mind, and I find myself reflecting unconsciously.
- Opportunities for water sports and cold water therapy.
As I mentioned before, swimming is a brave option for fitness within any coastal town or city. The sea can invite you to try out something new. Maybe it is something as simple as swimming, feeling the cool water around you. Also, swimming can act as cold water therapy, depending on the season. To learn more about the impacts of cold water therapy, read here to know more before taking the plunge.
- It has been a main source of inspiration for all the great artists.
I noticed on a recent trip to St. Ives how the sea can enforce a way of living. There seemed to be a collective of artists utilising their surroundings by the textures of sand and grit, the local sea glass and pebbles found on the bays of Cornwall. This resourcefulness amplifies the sheer talent of these artists and influence of the seaside
Learning about alpha brain ways
My journey by the sea began with going to university in Brighton. I hadn’t realised how much the sea would impact my mental health and help in my ongoing struggle with stress and anxiety.
In times of need, I realised the sound of the ocean engaged my brain in something called alpha brain waves.
Defined as ‘a state of wakeful rest’ by Healthline, this feeling of bliss that came across my body reduced the amount of stress-induced headaches and tension headaches by simply orbiting beside the ocean. And although my time has finished in Brighton, I find myself bound to the seaside.
My inspiration and relaxation seem to be tied to the coast. Drawing me back into the textures of the sand and feeling the waves crash on my skin.
So I hope I’ve convinced you to explore the coast and orient yourself back into nature as an alternative form of wellbeing. Whether you adore the colour blue or simply enjoy the thought of taking up meditation. These benefits helped me realise my own potential while studying in Brighton and how my surroundings affected my mental health.
After being stuck in a stuffy classroom, I realised most of my ideas developed while I was sat on the pebbles of Brighton’s wonderful coast and my adventures to St. Ives and Bournemouth.
Our country has so much to offer in terms of coastlines to explore, and I suggest getting back out there and feeling your way through your day out on the beach.
Try and reflect to see if your brain is producing alpha waves. You can do this by simply searching inward.
Did those stressful deadlines you had blaring in your head quiet down?
Did all that was worrying you take up a smaller space in your brain once you heard those waves?
Did cold water swimming help your skin or racing thoughts?
The courage you had to swim in those icy waters pales in comparison with your upcoming appraisal.
So, take a deep breath and swim towards a well-needed break.
Article written by Leah Hardcastle.