Living close to the sea could have considerable therapeutic effects on your mental well-being, a new study found.

A team of researchers at the University of Exeter scoured through survey data for any significant correlation between coastal proximity and effects on well-being. It’s considered one of the most comprehensive studies detailing such effects.

“Access to the coast could help to reduce these health inequalities in towns and cities close to the sea,” the Exeter team stated.

Coastal Proximity & Well-Being

To achieve the findings, published in the journal Health and Place, the team took into account the survey data of approximately 26,000 participants from 2008 to 2012.

The team compared the data of participants living less than 1km and others more than 50km away from the coast. Using the 12-item version of the General Health Questionnaire, researchers were able to measure the mental well-being of the participants.

The data included various measures such as health-related behaviors and socioeconomic status. Health disorders, like anxiety and depression, affects people of all socioeconomic statuses; however, lower socioeconomic status may increase the risk of such health conditions.

The Findings

In the findings, researchers indicated that living in towns or cities near the coast could considerably improve well-being.

Jo Garrett, the study’s lead author, stated: “These findings add to the growing evidence base linking blue spaces, particularly coastal environments, with better health and wellbeing.”

“When it comes to mental health, this ‘protective’ zone could play a useful role in helping to level the playing field between those on high and low income,” Garrett explained.

“This research also supports previous work which suggests that the positive relationship between living in more natural environments and mental health is stronger within more socioeconomically deprived groups.”

This article originally appeared on Mental Daily.