At The Coast

We’ve been in Wales this week and I thought it a perfect time to write about why being by the coast is seen by so many people as a healing place to be. I have to admit that I’m not a natural lover of the seaside, I don’t like crowds and I think it smells a bit, well, seaweedy! But in the name of research I’ve been putting my preconceptions aside and taking some time to really appreciate the unique qualities of the coast.

Luckily for me, the beaches and shorelines were very quiet when we visited the West coast of Wales. The sea was glistening and the air was clean and fresh.

One day was really breezy and the sea was foaming as the waves broke on the shore. Hardly anyone was about and I could really feel the sense of space. Being able to look at the horizon with nothing interrupting the view is a really special thing – it makes the mind clear and focussed.

This is where I could see the difference between my favoured outdoorsy space which is woodland, and the coast. Out in the woods, the benefit comes from becoming still, focussing on small things such as lichen on a branch, or a bird or insect, listening hard in the quiet for tiny sounds. Your mind naturally quietens and stills, and you can become very relaxed, peaceful, and calm.

Conversely, I found a different effect by the sea. The sheer expanse makes the mind open up, the breeze makes you alert and fresh. Rather than feeling relaxed I felt refreshed and invigorated. The empty horizon gives the mind the chance to expand and gives a little perspective to anything we are perhaps dwelling on or working out.

The sheer expanse makes the mind open up

The power of the sea is used in many cultures and traditions to help people harness power for themselves, making affirmations and bringing power to intentions. The element of wind has long been known to symbolise strength, and tuning in with this can help fortify us internally. The fresh sea air also helps us sleep well and we tend to exercise more by the sea which makes us feel healthier.

I find it fascinating that there is a whole world of creatures living in the sea which we know very little about in reality. This also helps us put ourselves and our own problems into a better perspective, remembering we are only one among many, many others.

If you can get to the coast, let it work its magic on you! I’m definitely a fan of going out of season, the beaches are nice and quiet, and dog friendly! Ok, there was no chance of taking my jumper off let alone getting into a swimming costume but I’d much rather have the peace and quiet outside of peak times.

So, take a flask, snacks, and a blanket and enjoy the wild and beautiful coast this year if you can!