The Blue Cure

“The sea is a small pharmacy that you need to know how to use” ~ Maria Palou, Oncology patient and study participant. 

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it's easy to lose touch with the natural world around us. Yet, our connection to nature holds profound implications for our mental health and overall wellbeing. It’s a theory that is increasingly supported by scientific research: nature has the power to heal, to restore, and to uplift our spirits.

Studies have shown that our relationship with nature directly influences our mental health. The more we notice, appreciate, and engage with our natural surroundings, the greater the positive impact on our wellbeing. Researchers have coined the term "connectedness" to describe this ideal relationship—a deep sense of emotional attachment and closeness to nature. 

Evidence suggests that those with a strong connection to nature tend to lead happier lives, experiencing emotions like calmness, joy, and creativity more frequently. Moreover, this connection is linked to lower levels of anxiety and stress, with 44% of people reporting that being close to nature reduces their worries.

One particularly potent natural element in promoting mental health is the ocean. Living near the coast has been associated with better general and mental health, and visits to coastal environments are known to reduce stress and induce feelings of restoration. However, the health benefits of the ocean are contingent upon its own well-being. Pollution and degradation of marine ecosystems can undermine these benefits, posing risks to human health.

Recent initiatives, such as those in Biarritz, France, highlight the therapeutic potential of ocean activities like surfing and stand-up paddling. Doctors in Biarritz have begun prescribing these activities over medication for conditions ranging from depression to obesity, emphasizing the role of negative ions released by breaking waves in enhancing mood and overall health.


Yet, the efficacy of such prescriptions depends on the preservation of our natural environments. Without continued efforts to protect and restore ecosystems, the healing power of nature may be compromised.

As we observe Mental Health Awareness Month, it's crucial to acknowledge and harness the healing potential of nature. Let's commit to fostering a deeper connection with the natural world and advocating for the preservation of our planet's precious resources. By doing so, we not only enhance our own wellbeing but also contribute to the collective health of our planet.

Let's take action now to restore our ecosystems, protect our oceans, and ensure a healthier, more sustainable future for all. Together, we can nurture both our mental health and the well-being of our planet.