Study Shows Living Near Water Can Help Reduce Stress

When we need vacations we often think about the sea, we picture a beautiful beach, deep blue water, white sand and palm trees, why is that? Because the sound of waves, the sound of the wind, the smell of fresh air make us feel good and relaxed.  Sometimes we need to escape from the city: the huge buildings, the traffic, the smoke and all the annoying sounds that come with it.

According to a scientific study nature help us release stress, we tend to feel more relaxed and calmed. The study was published in the journal Health & Place, the goal of the study was to look at the effects of green and blue spaces on people´s well being.

 

Green meaning trees and vegetation and blue meaning water, makes sense right? There is nothing as relaxing as enjoying nature at its fullest! Spending some days surrounded by vegetation, trees, mountains, lakes, rivers, oceans, forests and what not!

The results of the study showed that “Higher levels of blue space visibility were associated with lower psychological distress”

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and Michigan State University in United States. In order to study the effects of water on our health and wellbeing scientists looked at various residential areas in the city of Wellington, New Zealand´s beautiful capital.

Researchers used data from the New Zealand Health Survey, a national survey that measures different health indicators among New Zealanders each year. They focused specially on data related to the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, which measures anxiety and mood disorders.

Even when they took into account other factors that could lead to improved wellbeings, such as wealth, age and gender, the researchers found that New Zealanders with a view of the water had improved mental health.

Unexpectedly their view of green space like parks and trees did not have such a strong effect on their wellbeing. According to Amber Pearson, one of the researchers, this may happen because “the blue space was all natural, while the green space included human-made areas, such as sports fields and playgrounds, as well as natural areas such as native forest” “Perhaps if we only looked at native forests we might find something different.”

Amber Pearson says this research is important because mental health disorders are becoming very common across the world and the study can inform city planners, who might consider building affordable homes near water so their residents have views of the ocean.

Living by the water will not only lower the stress in people´s lives, but it will also improve the immune system. Reducing the stress means that our body has more potential to be healthy, energized and vibrant, what´s better than fresh ocean air and sunshine?

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