Scientists confirm that being beside the sea lifts the soul

They said, quite simply, it is better for our souls.

A study of more than 4,500 people found that spending time in natural surroundings by the coast or in the countryside gives “greater psychological contentment” than a trip to an urban park.

Visits to protected areas such as national parks also make the spirits soar.

The study in the journal Environment & Behavior said: “Visits to nature [especially those to protected sites and to coastal and rural green settings] were associated with both greater feelings of relaxation and refreshment but also stronger emotional connections to the natural world. 

“Visits longer than 30 minutes were associated with a better connection and subsequently had greater psychological benefits.”

Psychology expert Dr Kayleigh Wyles, who undertook the research at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, said: “These findings are important as they not only help unpick the mechanisms behind these psychological benefits, but they can also help to prioritise the protection of these environments.”