Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
Orca Lulu's body contained PCB levels 100x above the safe limit. Image: SMASS

Toxic tides, troubled whales: the toll of chemical pollution

In last week's blog, we examined the challenges whales and dolphins face as they travel...
Group of orcas at surface

Breaking barriers for whales and dolphins at the Convention of Migratory Species

Many species of whales, dolphins and porpoises undertake long journeys, encountering human-made obstacles along the...

WDC in Japan – Part 1: Finding allies in Tokyo

At the end of May, I embarked on an incredible journey to Japan on behalf...
Amazon river dolphins leaping

The state of river dolphin conservation

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we partner with conservationists and communities fighting to save river...
Researchers in Southeast Alaska studying whale poo

We’re funding crucial research on whale poo to combat the climate crisis

The ocean is one of the lungs of our planet, and whales help it to...
Narwhal surfacing

The unicorns of the sea must be protected – CITES

The narwhal, is under threat. Often referred to as the unicorns of the sea, narwhals,...
Sperm whales

We’re pushing governments for action for our climate heroes – whales

The climate crisis is the greatest threat to all life on Earth. But there is...
Dolphins captured for captivity in Taiji. Image: Hans Peter Roth

Loved and killed – whales and dolphins in Japan

Protests and criticism from outside Japan in response to the slaughter of whales and dolphins...

Discovering inner peace – whale and dolphin watching and mental wellbeing

Guest blog

If you've ever seen whales or dolphins in the wild, you'll know that it can be a positive and powerful experience.  In this guest blog, Stanley Clark shares how an encounter with whales brought him calm and explores how whale and dolphin watching can help us destress.

Stanley Clark is a community development volunteer and writer. He worked on commercials, events, and campaigns before writing full-time in the area of natural health and wellness.

I can’t stress this enough; stress is something you don’t want piling up. We lug around stress daily, which we shouldn’t be doing.  I manage a small health and wellness business but relieving other people's stress is stressful for me, which is ironic.

I searched for ways to destress and came across wildlife tours, including whale watching. My friend told me whale watching could help relieve stress and give inner peace, and I was curious.  To be honest, I was sceptical at first. How can whale watching help me find inner peace? How can watching these marine mammals help me destress and recover from the hardships of a stressful life? Is there scientific evidence linking whale watching to improving mental health?

Read on, and I’ll tell you the benefits you can enjoy when going on a trip to watch whales in action. Also, I’ll talk about how we can support Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) and help save these majestic creatures.

Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) Feeding bottlenose dolphins Rangiroa French Polynesia.

If you are able to make a donation, we promise to put it to good use right away.

Wellbeing benefits

Are you looking for ways to destress, too? If so, then this article is for you. And if you’re like me, you may have already experienced some symptoms of stress. For me, having sweaty palms is a natural reaction to stress. It also happens when I get anxious and nervous around people. I’m really a shy person, and I’m always self-conscious. That’s why I tried whale watching to see if I’d feel better around these gentle sea giants. And boy, was I surprised by what I discovered!

In searching for an excellent way to relieve my stress, I came across a tour promoting whale watching. The ad described whale watching as a thriving industry that captivates thousands of people yearly.

But what got me hooked was the part saying that viewing these majestic creatures in a dynamic ocean creates a unique atmosphere that can calm and rejuvenate the mind and senses. Wow, just what I needed.

I researched the benefits of whale watching in managing stress levels, and here’s what I found:

  1. Survey data from close to 26,000 people showed that living close to the sea might help improve mental health. This sense of calm and wellbeing became known as ‘blue health.’ This finding can be instrumental in convincing governments to protect our seas and coastal areas.
  2. Being near the ocean, especially if you’re sailing, can reduce stress. Experiencing something novel can improve your mental state and make you feel relaxed.
  3. When you’re around nature, you can destress significantly and reset your entire self. The experience is similar to deleting a cache to lighten the load of an overloaded browser. The simple act of observing nature can relieve people from stress. Incorporating nature into your house shows excellent promise in preventive health care.
Gray whale off the coast of Baja California/Mexico.
Gray whale off the coast of Baja California/Mexico.

Being present

I learned that a great place to see whales is off San Diego, California, so I booked a tour.

The day came when I was finally going whale watching with a local group, and I was so excited.

After a couple of hours of travel, the guide told us that we were in the midst of mating season for whales, and before I could process that statement, there were whales!

The sight of these massive creatures up close was awe-inspiring. The sound of their presence and the beauty of their big bodies shining in the sun burned an indelible mark inside me.

I was so captivated by the sight that I forgot to take pictures or videos. I wasn’t even thinking of anything. I was just enjoying that moment and being present, just letting the whole experience soak in.

I stood at the bow of that whale watching boat, mesmerised by the ocean spectacle. I was smiling like a kid again, with no worries inside, and at that moment, I felt inner peace.

How You Can Help

In my journey to find inner peace and relief from stress, I came across people like WDC whose mission it is to protect whales, dolphins and their habitats.

Many whale species are endangered. Around 3,600 whales and dolphins are still held in captivity and this industry is growing. The critically endangered North Atlantic right whales number fewer than 360, and other whales and dolphins teeter on the brink of extinction or struggle to recover from commercial whaling. If we don’t do our share to protect them, more species will go extinct within our lifetime.

You can play your part by refusing to visit attractions holding captive whales or dolphins and enjoying them in their wild homes instead, and by making a donation and supporting WDC’s campaigns.

The views and opinions expressed by our guest bloggers are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of WDC.

Please help us today with a donation

Your gift, whether large or small, will help us stop whaling for good and protect endangered species.