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Sailing for Mental Health - The Rise of Blue Therapy

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

The loss of human-nature interaction has been linked to a rising tide of mental health disorders. Many experts now believe blue spaces, such as lakes and rivers, could be even more beneficial than green ones.

Read on to find out how nature-based solutions could be a more affordable and well-rounded alternative to conventional therapy.

Simply staring out to sea can change the frequency of our brain waves and lure us into a mild meditative state - the ocean is a powerful form of mindfulness.

The concept of "blue health" emerged almost 10 years ago when researchers at the University of Sussex asked 20,000 people to record their feelings at random times. They collected over a million responses and found that people were by far the happiest when they were in blue spaces.

The sea is such a healing place for the soul. There is something about the rhythm of the waves and the salty air that just has a way of washing away all your troubles. Sailing is the perfect way to immerse yourself in nature and to find some peace and quiet.

Sailing Can Ease Stress and promote Relaxation

We all know how good being in nature can make us feel. We have known it for centuries. The sounds of the waves crashing against the boat, the wind in the sails, and the sun on your face can help you to relax and to feel at ease.

One study found that two hours of sailing can reduce cortisol levels by up to 75%.

Cortisol is the stress hormone, so sailing's ability to lower these levels is hugely beneficial for our mental health.

The practical side of sailing keeps you in the moment as you are constantly adjusting to changes in the wind and the waves. This can help you clear your mind and take a step back from day to day worries.

Richard Shuster, PsyD, clinical psychologist says, “The color blue has been found by an overwhelming amount of people to be associated with feelings of calm and peace. Staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state.”

Sailing Can Help Us Connect with Others

One of the main risk factors for mental health disorders is social isolation and loneliness. When we feel isolated, we are more likely to ruminate on negative thoughts and spiral into depression or anxiety. Sailing can be a good way to connect with others and find community.

There are many reasons why sailing can be beneficial for mental health. It can help us to relax, connect with others, and feel at ease. If you are struggling with your mental health, consider giving sailing a try. It just might be what you need to help you find some peace of mind.

Coming Home To Ourselves

As a civilisation we have evolved to now spend the majority of our time in front of screens - both for work and relaxation. I'm guessing that if you have ever looked out across a body of water there is something about it that just holds your gaze; some deep sense of wonderment. Perhaps a primal feeling of coming home, of feeling safe; of having 'returned'.

The captivating power of water goes beyond words. It's a therapy session in which we don't need to articulate our emotions.

We can simply stand on the deck of a boat, being rocked and held by the earth, immersed in the silence of the present moment, and slowly, slowly, recover the parts of ourselves that have been longing to come up for air.


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