With one glorious May Bank Holiday Weekend behind us and what will hopefully be another great one around the corner, it got me thinking about a day at the seaside. We are fortunate to have so many places on the coast, within easy reach of most of us.

For generations, the call of the crashing waves, the salty air, and the vast expanse of the sea has beckoned us. Beyond the nostalgic charm lies a scientific truth, the Great British seaside offers a potent dose of natural therapy.

Studies reveal a fascinating connection between the natural world and our mental health. The concept of 'blue mind', popularised by marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols, suggests spending time near water has a calming and restorative effect on our brains.

Gazing at the vastness of the sea appears to lower stress hormones like cortisol, promoting tranquillity and reducing anxiety.

The rhythmic sound of waves crashing against the shore creates a natural white noise, masking intrusive thoughts and promoting relaxation. The smell of the sea air, infused with negative ions released by crashing waves, is thought to improve mood and boost energy levels. The feel of the sand between your toes and the invigorating breeze on your skin further connect us to the natural world.

Sunshine is a key player in promoting mental well-being. Sunlight exposure increases our production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with happiness and feelings of well-being. The seaside provides ample opportunity to soak up the sun, especially during the precious summer months. Feeling this good at the seaside can also motivate us to engage in more physical activity. Whether it's a brisk walk along the coast path, a bracing swim in the sea, or simply building sandcastles with the family, the seaside promotes movement, which is well-known for its mood-boosting effects.

The seaside also offers a much-needed escape from the relentless stream of emails, notifications, and social media updates. Disconnecting from technology allows our brains to truly relax and recharge. This digital detox can significantly reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

So next time you're feeling stressed or low, consider a visit to the seaside and discover the natural therapy it provides. After all, a dose of vitamin ‘sea’ might be just the prescription you need. Of course it is also important to remember the SPF suncream if you are going to enjoy the sun.

n Martin Furber is a therapist qualified in various modalities and an Instructor Member of Mental Health First Aid England wellbeing@martinfurber.com