If you've been watching Blue Planet 2 you'll know that beach cleaning is becoming more and more important for protecting our marine life. But could it be important for our well-being too?
1. being near water can make you calmer and more creative
Being around water gives our brains and our senses a rest from over-stimulation, and when staring out to sea we can enter into a mild meditative state of calm focus and gentle awareness. In this restful, contemplative state we can experience a sense of awe and connection to something bigger than ourselves, which can increase our capacity for connection and empathy.
2. focusING on a task can reduce ANXIETY
Have you ever been drawing a picture, playing an instrument or trying a new hobby and realised you didn't think about anything the whole time? Focusing on a task allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus only on the moment, helping to alleviate free-floating anxiety. Cleaning the beach involves a lot of focus on the sand or shingle to find the next piece of treasure, and we've heard lots of our Pier 2 Pier beach cleaners say they found their experience therapeutic.
3. KINDNESS CAN MAKE YOU HAPPIER
Random acts of kindness are good for our psychological well-being. Scientific research indicates that regularly being kind to others (and in this case other species!), with or without premeditation, is a good plan for general happiness levels and specific social issues. Beach cleaning also allows us to be pro-active and take some control over the issues our planet faces, allowing ourselves to feel hopeful and useful, when it can otherwise feel like a lost cause.
4. GETTING AWAY FROM yOUR PHONE CAN REBOOT yOUR ENERGY
Multi-tasking, particularly with electronic devices, is the leading cause of stress. The result can be an enormous amount of tension and exhaustion, which severely decreases the quality of our health, our relationships and our work. Taking breaks from our phones and connecting with nature and other people in our community can reboot our energy levels and offer us deeper relaxation.
5. IT'S FUN!
Beach cleaning offers a sense of play that we don't get in our usual working day - keeping our eyes peeled for the next piece of treasure, trying to find a more interesting item than our friend, or joining one of the Pier 2 Pier Beach Clean Bingo events! Regaining our sense of play can help us in many areas of our lives - it can help us become more creative in work or at home, connect with loved ones, friends and even strangers, and perhaps most importantly, it can help reconnect us with ourselves!