Water as a Mental Health Reset

Picture of forest with waterWe’ve been focusing on how being outdoors can be a great mental health reset. If you missed our blog on Forest Bathing, we encourage you to check it out HERE. We also listed 9 ways to use the outdoors to find mental health healing found HERE.

Beach therapy, also known as ocean therapy or coastal therapy, refers to the practice of spending time at the beach to promote mental and emotional well-being. This therapeutic approach recognizes the healing power of the ocean environment and its beneficial effects on mental health.

Lake or river therapy, also known as aquatic therapy or hydrotherapy, involves using natural bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, or streams as a therapeutic environment to promote physical and mental well-being. Unlike traditional therapy settings, which may take place indoors, lake or river therapy harnesses the healing properties of water and nature to facilitate relaxation, rehabilitation, and emotional healing.

Here’s how beach therapy or lake/river therapy can help as a mental health reset:

  1. Stress Reduction: The sights and sounds of the beach, such as the rhythmic crashing of waves, the soft sand beneath your feet, and the expansive horizon, have a calming effect on the mind. The gentle motion of the waves and the vastness of the ocean can help reduce stress and induce a sense of relaxation.


  1. Connection with Nature: Being at the beach allows you to connect with the natural world in a profound way. The beauty of the ocean, the warmth of the sun, and the feel of the breeze on your skin can help you feel grounded and connected to something greater than yourself, providing a sense of perspective and peace.


  1. Mindfulness and Presence: The beach provides an ideal setting for practicing mindfulness and being present in the moment. Whether you’re walking along the shoreline, watching a sunset, or simply sitting and listening to the sounds of nature, being at the beach encourages you to slow down, breathe deeply, and savor the present moment.


  1. Physical Activity: Many beach activities, such as swimming, surfing, beach volleyball, or even just walking along the shore, involve physical movement. Engaging in these activities not only promotes physical fitness but also releases endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety or depression.


  1. Vitamin D Exposure: Spending time outdoors at the beach exposes you to sunlight, which is a natural source of vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in regulating mood and may help alleviate symptoms of depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).


  1. Social Connection: The beach often serves as a social gathering place where people come together to relax, play, and connect with others. Spending time at the beach with friends or family provides opportunities for social interaction and strengthens relationships, which can have a positive impact on mental health.


  1. Sense of Freedom and Escape or Adventure: The beach has a liberating quality that allows you to escape from the pressures and routines of daily life. Whether you’re watching the waves, building sandcastles, or simply daydreaming by the water, being at the beach can evoke feelings of freedom, joy, and possibility. Exploring lakes and rivers can evoke a sense of adventure and exploration. Whether you’re embarking on a kayaking adventure, discovering hidden waterfalls, or camping along a riverbank, the thrill of exploration can bring excitement and joy to your life.


  1. Reflection and Contemplation: Bodies of water provide an ideal setting for reflection and contemplation. The peacefulness of lakes and rivers encourages introspection and mindfulness, allowing you to clear your mind, gain perspective, and focus on the present moment.


  1. Creativity and Inspiration: The beauty and serenity of lakes and rivers can inspire creativity and imagination. Whether you’re an artist, writer, or musician, being in nature can stimulate your senses and ignite your creative spark, leading to new ideas and insights.

Finding a body of water to be near while practicing one or more of these interventions doesn’t have to be expensive or even require a special vacation. Being intentional about finding spaces in your area near bodies of water can be a great reset and free!

Overall, beach therapy and lake/river therapy offers a holistic approach to mental health that combines the therapeutic benefits of nature, physical activity, mindfulness, and social connection. Whether you’re seeking a moment of relaxation, a mental health reset, or simply a break from the stresses of life, spending time at the beach can provide a rejuvenating and healing experience for the mind, body, and soul.


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