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Spending Time Near the Ocean Benefits Mental Wellbeing

An increasing number of studies are finding that time spent by the ocean is benefitial to mental health.

Spending Time Near the Ocean Benefits Mental Wellbeing

Now there's a study that backs up what many of us have believed for a while: that spending time near the ocean is great for mental wellbeing.

Spending Time Near the Ocean Benefits Mental Wellbeing

There’s nothing quite like listening to the soothing crash of waves and feeling the soft sand between your toes to boost the spirits. And now there’s a study that backs up what many of us have believed for a while: that spending time near the ocean is great for mental wellbeing.

We already know that spending time in the great outdoors can greatly benefit our mental wellbeing – read more about The Nature Cure right here – but a new study has revealed that spending time in a ‘blue space’ and interaction with coastal environments could do wonders for our mental health.

The study, which was conducted by the University of Exeter and was published in the journal Health and Place, took a close look at how the environment that we are surrounded by impacts on our mental wellbeing. It’s one of the most detailed studies into the wellbeing impact living beside the ocean has to date.

During the course of the study, researches analysed the Health Survey for England, which included results from 26,000 adults, and looked at how close the respondents live to the coast. The researchers found that adults who lived less than 1 kilometre from the coast reported better mental health than individuals who lived greater than 50 kilometres from the blue space. It found that exposure to blue space boosts mental health, particularly among low-income households.

The findings add to the growing evidence that time spent in blue spaces could improve overall mental wellbeing.

“Our research suggests, for the first time, that people in poorer households living close to the coast experience fewer symptoms of mental health disorders. When it comes to mental health, this ‘protective’ zone could play a useful role in helping to level the playing field between those on high and low income,” said Dr Jo Garrett who the study.

Dr Mathew White, environmental psychologist at the University of Exeter, said: “This kind of research into blue health is vital to convincing governments to protect, create and encourage the use of coastal spaces. We need to help policy makers understand how to maximise the wellbeing benefits of ‘blue’ spaces in towns and cities and ensure that access is fair and inclusive for everyone, while not damaging our fragile coastal environments.”

Discover some of New Zealand’s best beaches here. 

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