Why Being Near Bodies Of Water Makes Us Happier

There is a reason why travel advertisements always use pictures of beaches. Indeed, it is almost impossible to resist an exquisite water view. Environmental and psychological do not miss the allure. With growing research on the subject, there is now scientific evidence that being near a “blue space” can be great for our mental health.

Source: pixabay.com

What Is The “Blue Space”?

Blue spaces are natural aquatic places like lakes, rivers, beaches, or coastal waters. We feel so drawn to them because we want to rest or relax. When we go to the beach, we are not spending most of our time sunbathing or swimming. Instead, we enjoy activities as simple as walking along the shore.

Most of the explanation goes back to the basics: the effect of colors on our mood. Blue often induces feelings of calmness and serenity. Many people also favor it since it is a non-threatening color and a sign of stability and tranquility. Consistent with this, staring at the ocean or other bodies of water can change our brain waves’ frequency, putting us into a mild meditative state.

“Nature-based/experiential interventions produce increased treatment success more rapidly than traditional talk approaches. There is a relationship between humans who connect with and spend time in nature and increased environmental awareness or stewardship.” –Dr. Carlene Taylor, LMHC, LPC, CPCS, NCC

Many people, including poets, painters, or sailors, have all attested to feeling at peace when they’re near water. Now, even scientists are acknowledging the positive cognitive effects of water. It turns out that people living near coastlines have an improved sense of mental and physical well-being. Reportedly, blue spaces induce a meditative feeling which makes people feel happier, calmer, and even more creative.

Source: nbcnews.com

How Does This Happen?

The explanation for the effect of the so-called blue space is mostly psychology. BetterHelp psychologists argue that water serves as the antidote to a “red mind,” a state of anxiety caused by several factors. One of these is increasing urbanization and the advancement of technology. It turns out that being in front of the screen all the time has increased stress levels for humans dramatically. As Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist said, “We don’t always know causation in psychology — especially without being able to measure something for a long time — but there are a lot of correlational studies that are pointing to social media and digital phone use,”

Therefore, spending significant time around oceans, lakes, waterfalls, rivers, or even showers can counter this state of anxiety. Water is the source of life since it covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface. Science shows that there is a deep connection triggered in our brains when we are near water. Even just the sight or sound of water can already induce chemicals in our brain. These chemicals promote wellness. Thanks to science, we can now connect the dots on why a feeling of relaxation washes over us when we are around water.


Final Thoughts

When we buy houses or spend so much on traveling to water bodies, we are paying for the uplifting feeling they give. Considering the deep-seated connection between the mind and the water, community planners are now incorporating this in their plans. Who wouldn’t want to have a piece of relaxation in urbanized places, right?

“Research shows the biggest boost in happiness comes from planning the vacation.” Shannon Torberg, PsyD, LP saID. So, the next time you plan a trip, be sure to soak in the view, smell the ocean air, and feel everything from the sun to the water. To maximize the peaceful effect, be more aware of your senses. If you can, take a moment to be with nature. Say goodbye to your phone for a few hours since it might distract you from exercising mindfulness. Who knows, you might go back from your trip as a whole new different person!

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