Of all the ways to de-stress, not much tops lounging on a sun drenched beach, listening to the waves and taking in the glistening vista!
This World Oceans Day, celebrating the restorative powers of the ocean might be a challenge, but the good news is… there is evidence that looking at photos of the sea can have a similar effect.
Sea staring, as we’ll call it, is one of the most immersive and meditative activities going, with the sounds and visuals working together to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This de-stimulating effect, where the brain is relaxed yet focused (a state known as ‘soft fascination’) has wide-ranging benefits for both mental and physical health.
As humans, we are hardwired to react positively to water, with these benefits, in part, coming from the fact that the sea provides a steady stream of 'blue noise’ which helps relax our brains and stimulate the production of feel-good hormones.
Added to these effects is the feeling of awe that looking at the sea induces, with the vastness often offering a sense of perspective, encouraging us to look outwards, rather than inwards. .
This natural capital of the ocean in supporting wellbeing is something to keep in mind, now, as we look forward to future holidays by the seaside.
In the meantime, we can experience some of the benefits of the water from visiting lakes, rivers and even fountains.