Stress Management: Go to the Beach and Get Your ‘Blue Space’ Fix

Blue Space
In which the lovely Amanda gets her blue space on…

Do you know that it’s scientifically proven that going to the beach for a ‘blue space’ fix will benefit your health?

This year, I’ve started a regular post-dinner promenade with David (partner) and Bella (pooch) at our local beach.

There’s nothing particularly high brow about our little ritual – just the three of us wandering the length of the beach and back, breathing in the sea air while sharing random thoughts, and greeting local pups (and their owners). Bella (the ageing mini poodle) receives a reasonable amount of attention from the little people, and there are often al fresco picnickers (we have a very good fish and chip shop in our area)…

It’s lovely how such a small change in routine can have such a profound impact.

Of course, I have my morning ritual – a practice that has become a non-negotiable start to my day. This more recent semi-regular evening perambulation is like a lovely bookend to that – one that I look forward to, despite not doing it quite as religiously.

“One day, all your worries will set like the sun does and deserved happiness will come gushing like waves at the beach do. All you need to make sure is that your trips to beach never end.”
― Jasleen Kaur Gumber

On my last trip across the Tasman to New Zealand, I spent a wonderful few hours at Pakiri Beach in Northland with friends. A 14-kilometre long white, sandy beach, on the day we visited it Pakiri was brisk and sunny, with the wind coming in off the sea making for some rough surf. The perfect day for beach-walking, really. It’s invigorating and grounding feeling the sand between your bare tootsies and smelling the salty air with good company…

Makes you feel glad to be alive!

Blue Space
Windswept and interesting Pakiri Beach in NZ

The feeling of well-being that I experienced from the time at the beach had such an impact on me that I thought it worth doing a little digging. It’s no secret that spending time in nature is good for our health, but it turns out that the benefits of spending time at the beach can be specifically beneficial.

Funnily enough, there is a New Zealand study that proves the importance of getting a ‘blue space’ fix…

That sense of grounding and connecting with nature that you experience at the beach is known as ‘blue space’. This is what scientists have labelled the effect that the combination of soothing smells and sounds of water have on your brain. It seems that if you are a city dweller, spending time in ‘blue space’ is enough to make you feel more relaxed.

And, it’s not just in your head. Science says that it’s a change in the way your brain reacts to its environment leaving you feeling happy, relaxed and reenergized. You can check out the study I mentioned here.

It turns out that exposure to visible blue space (more than green space) is associated with lower psychological distress in city residents.

But that’s not all. If you want to really MAXIMISE that beach feeling try this 5-4-3-2-1 exercise…

Essentially, you make your way systematically through your five senses and name 5 things you can see at this very moment (the surf rolling in, the colour of the sky), 4 things you can hear (the call of the sea birds, the sound of the waves), 3 things you can feel (like the sand between your toes), 2 things you can smell (like the salty air), and one thing you can taste, even if it’s just the inside of your mouth.

Why not head to the beach for your ‘blue space’ fix and give the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise a go?

It’s a GREAT stress buster!


Another way to help bed down this AIP caper is to join the next AIP Reset! Come and find your tribe of people all working on improving their health using AIP as a framework…

AIP Reset

 

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