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Clear your Head with the Help of Wind and Waves

How the Coastal Landscape can help you Release Stress

Clear your head: Crashing Wave - Rugged Coasts Series by Maryse Jansen
Crashing Wave – Rugged Coasts Series

Why are we drawn to the ocean?

Have you ever noticed the effect that being at the coast, watching out over the ocean has on you? Are you, like so many other people, drawn to the water? Are you one that prefers to be in it? Swim, dive, surf, play? Are you one that prefers to be in a boat and explore that way? Or do you rather stay ashore and watch, mesmerised by the movement of the waves? Do you go to the beach to clear your head?

The calming effect of water

Whichever style suits your personality, it is likely that you are drawn to the ocean in one form or another. Our brains are prewired to love the sight of water. I have spoken about this phenomenon in my earlier post ‘Instant Calm’. In that post I focused on the calming, meditative aspect of staring at a body of water, whether you’re looking at the waves of the ocean, a flowing river, the ripples on a lake or the stillness of a pond. A great way to clear your head. If you are looking for some stress relief, check it out!

When I mentioned the waves of the ocean in this article, I was picturing the gentle swell of the ocean’s waves rolling in and breaking on the shore with that soothing sound that had me sleep so well, as I was remembering some beautiful beach holiday destinations that I have visited in my life.

The awe-inspiring forces of the ocean

But of course, the ocean is not always so calm. With a smile I am now able to look back on my boat ride to Great Keppel Island, where we were thrown in all directions by the forces of the waves and the ocean got me seasick for the first time in my life! Boy, wasn’t I glad to put my feet on land again! Experience like that put you in touch with the immense power of that huge body of water and can evoke a sense of awe – once you’ve gotten over the nausea that is! 😉

A much more pleasant experience of awe is what I am experiencing now, with my feet planted safely on the rocks, just out of reach of the spectacular waves that are crashing on this rugged coastline continuously! Wow, this is truly an amazing sight! Rocky cliffs have been battered by the force of the ocean waves for eons and have eroded in the most wonderful and fascinating shapes. What a great place to explore!! But with respect for the water, because it can easily take you out and smash you against the rocks when you do silly things. Definitely not a good place to swim!

Incoming Waves - Rugged Coasts Series by Maryse Jansen
Incoming Waves – Rugged Coasts Series

Immersing all of your senses

But I thoroughly enjoy watching the gigantic waves crashing on the rocks – and with me, so do many other people. It is awe-inspiring and inevitably an experience for all the senses. Obviously the sight is spectacular, but so is the sound, and it’s hard to ignore the sensations of the wind and the spray in your face, the salty smell in your nostrils and the salty taste that it gives you on your lips.

Being fully immersed with all of your senses in an experience like this has an extra bonus: it puts you completely in the present – where for a moment you can forget about all the worries that you might be carrying around. And that is a great feeling which is probably also a reason why so many people – whether they are consciously aware of this or not – seek out this place.

This feeling of being fully immersed in an awe-inspiring situation like this is surely a great way to reset and you come away feeling refreshed and maybe able to see things in a new perspective!

The Dutch phenomenon of ‘uitwaaien’: use the wind to clear your head

It reminds me of the Dutch experience of ‘uitwaaien’, which I also associate with going to the beach which was usually a very windy experience in the place where I used to live. And that wind is exactly what you needed for the processs of ‘uitwaaien’.

So what does this mean? It refers to a practice of going out for a walk in the wind for the purpose of feeling invigorated and releasing stress. Literally, ‘uitwaaien’ means ‘blowing out’ so you could say that you let the wind blow all the stressful thoughts out of your head. Quite a literal way to clear your head!

You need a decently strong wind for the best effect – although not so strong that it knocks you of your feet of course! On second thought, even then it would probably work and give you – quite literally – a new perspective. And you would certainly be awed by the sheer forces of this wind. All joking aside, of course I recommend you stay safe and don’t throw yourself out in a cyclone – awe inspiring as it may be.

2 Ways of measuring wind

I just realised something interesting about the way wind is measured. Here in Australia it is usually stated as wind speed and measured in kmph. But in the Netherlands we used to speak of ‘windkracht’, which means ‘wind force’ or ‘wind power’. The latter being quite suitable I think for the experience you get when going out for a walk in that wind. I would say the ideal wind for ‘uitwaaien’ is windkracht 5 or 6, ranging from 30-50 kmph! You can do it anywhere, but walking along the shoreline really does add to the experience as the wind plays with the water and the sand.

Have you ever experienced something like it? Please share in the comments, I would love to hear about it! If you have the opportunity to go out and enjoy the wind and the waves, I wish you a wonderful time. In the meantime you can also join me on my walk in the latest episode of ‘Come for a walk in the Australian Bush’ and explore the spectacular coast line of the Central Coast in New South Wales:

If you are interested in purchasing the featured image ‘Crashing Wave – Rugged Coasts Series’ or would like to see what it looks like on the various products, please head to my shop. If you prefer ‘Incoming Waves – Rugged Coasts Series’ click shop here.

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