Have you ever stopped to think that living near water could be in some way beneficial to your health? Well, an Australian study revealed that this kind of closeness actually has positive effects on mental health.
Looking at the water of a flowing river, the serenity or churning of the sea, or even contemplating the placid waters of a lake, are things that would do you particularly well to deal with any psychological distress. This is what research says that confirms what those who live near the sea, river, lakes, etc., already know: water relaxes and, once used to live near it, it is really difficult to separate.
A team of researchers from New Zealand and Michigan State University (MSU) has found that living in a place with a “water view”, the so-called “blue space”, has a real and quantifiable benefit for mental health.
The study carried out in Wellington, a city that is home to half a million residents and is washed by the Tasman Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south, collected data on the visibility of blue and green spaces using topographic elements and then compared them to the information from the New Zealand Health Survey related to the Kessler psychological stress scale (a parameter that helps predict risk for anxiety and mood disorders).
The results were clear. As Amber Pearson, co-author of the study, stated:
“Increased blue space visions are significantly associated with lower levels of psychological distress”
And that would be true regardless of factors such as health status, wealth, age, gender, and neighbourhood hazard.
But what surprised the researchers most was that blue spaces had a greater positive effect than green spaces. Such that?
Pearson hypothesized that:
“It could be because the blue space was all natural, while the green space included artificial areas such as sports fields and playgrounds (…) so if we only looked at native forests, maybe we could find different results.”
However, this isn’t the first time scientific research has shown how living near water can improve health. A few years ago, an earlier study carried out by the British University of Exeter evaluated the beneficial effects of the sea on people, finding a better state of health in those who lived near the coast compared to those who lived inland.
Being near the water also makes us happier. Looking at the sea, but also at a lake, a river or a waterfall is a powerful anti-stress for us. Water is the primary source of life.
In reality, water is beneficial to us, as is nature in general. For example, living near a park, wood or forest helps to combat stress and regulate emotions. In this case, too, science has already proved it.
What do you think? Are those who live in big cities or away from water and greenery really disadvantaged in terms of mental or physical health?