It’s long been said that being beside the seaside boosts our sense of wellbeing, with wafts of sweet seaside treats, long stretches of pier and the gentle crashing of waves reminiscent of childhood days on the beach. Exploring this theory, leading coastal holiday company Haven has partnered with experimental psychologist Charles Spence from the University of Oxford to conduct research into the benefits of the top British seaside smells and why they are great for improving our mood and overall wellbeing.
There’s something in the air
Negative hydrogen ions found in sea air can help balance levels of serotonin, a hormone related to happiness, and can also promote sleep.
Romancing the sea
Sea air doesn’t just help boost your mood or clear your head – it can also evoke nostalgia. Research from Haven reveals one in ten (nine per cent) Brits said that the smell of the seaside alone reminds them of falling in love and more than one in three are reminded of positive times bonding with families.
Inhale a natural sugar high
Gorgeously sweet, classic seaside scents, such as vanilla and fudge, have been shown to reduce pain and help aid relaxation – you don’t have to eat them to feel great! The reassuring scent of all-time beach favourite candyfloss is indicative of nostalgia and even capable of inducing positive emotions.
Traditionally seen as a melancholic colour, blue actually makes people happy, not sad and often comes out on top when people are asked about their favourite colour. Emotions can also be positively influenced by the sound of crashing waves and gentle tides - largely thanks to the use of these in relaxation soundscapes as we naturally associate the lull of the tide with feeling calm.
That surprising beachy smell
The research by Haven revealed smelling the sea air was one of the nation’s favourite things about being by the coast. BUT what is the smell we love? That distinctive smell that we associate with the seaside is actually gas released from bacteria, otherwise known as dimethyl sulphide. Haven’s new range of scents, inspired by the seaside, have been created to replicate the salty sea air, with one fragrance from each corner of the Great British Coast; Cornwall, Norfolk, Scotland and Wales.
Smell has an excellent ability to trigger memories and emotions and the smell of the seaside can tap into positive sensorial well-being and can even enhance creativity. The smell of the sea connects us to our natural environment, specifically a place where we may have been happiest, most likely in childhood.
Helping Brits capture the great feeling of escaping to the coast, Haven has created a range of four mood-boosting, luxury fragrances that capture the nation’s favourite coastal scents and its associated benefits. Seawater (52%), fresh air (36%), sea salt (41.4%) and of course, fish and chips (41.4%) were the favourite coastal scents with sun lotion, damp rocks, candy floss and grassy dunes also making the top ten. A limited number of the fragrances are available now at blog.haven.com