According to recent research, people who live near the coast are more likely to report feeling a sense of health and wellness says the BBC. The study, which examined census data from the U.K., found several possible explanations ranging from a reduction in stress and greater opportunities for exercise, to the bracing effects of fresh sea air and exposure to the natural rhythms of the water. Interestingly, people from the poorest backgrounds benefit most from living in a coastal environment.
Back in April, a similar study, reported by the BBC, pointed to the psychological benefits of living near water noting, in particular, a sense of calm and well-being. The study found people responded most positively to interactions with the sea when they are alone. And researchers suspect that part of the reason these environments are so therapeutic is because of the way the light plays off the water and the specific sounds associated with the sea.
I just spent a weekend at someone else’s cottage, and I can attest to the calming qualities of being near water. My favourite time is at night, when it cools down a little and there’s almost no noise beyond either the gentle lapping or dramatic crashing of waves. There are few things that feel more naturally therapeutic, and just 10 minutes of sitting on the dock with your feet in the water can make you feel like you’ve been meditating for hours. Even in the city, I find that cycling near the lake, while still hectic and (at times) life threatening, is a little more calming than cycling with only a view of pavement.
So how can you recreate some of these benefits if you’re a landlubber? Getting away to a location near water is great, if you have the opportunity. Some people listen to recordings of rivers gurgling or waterfalls trickling. And there is some evidence that it’s not just water that has a positive effect, but any natural environment. If you’ve been invited to a cottage let this be your motivation, and if not, think of it as a reason to get out side as much as possible!
Do you live near an ocean or lake?