Blue Spaces: How Living By Water Makes You Happier and Less Stressed
Blue Spaces: How Living by Water Makes You Happier and Less Stressed
“Water is medicine, for everyone, for life,” says biologist Wallace J. Nichols. He and other researchers are discovering the health benefits of living near water. Studies show that being near water, also known as blue spaces, can reduce stress and boost happiness. The sea, the coastline, lakes, rivers, canals and even fountains are good for you!
Why Do Blue Spaces Help?
Researchers call the positive effects of blue spaces “health by stealth.” Being near water is inherently beneficial, so without concerted effort you can reap the benefits. That’s because blue spaces:
- Boost environmental health. Areas around bodies of water tend to be less polluted and to have more sunlight, making for a healthier environment in which people (and plants and animals) can thrive.
- Promote physical fitness. People who live near water tend to be more physically active, engaging in water sports, walking and cycling.
- Soothe the mind. Blue spaces are psychologically restorative, inspiring a positive mood and reducing stress.
Letting Go into Blue Space
In his book “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do,” Nichols distinguishes between “red mind” — the anxious, over-stimulated state of most modern adults — and “blue mind” — a meditative state associated with being near water. This blue mind state is characterized by a deep sense of calm, peacefulness and general happiness. When people walk along the beach, immersed in a state of blue mind, they find that their thoughts are drawn outward — everyday problems and concerns are put in perspective by the natural rhythms of the water. People are better able to unwind and let go.
What Else Can Blue Do for You?
There are other ways blue spaces support body, mind and spirit. Studies suggest that being near water can also:
- Improve sleep
- Promote sustained happiness
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Lower heart rate and breathing rate
- Reduce blood pressure
- Boost overall well-being
- Support creativity
- Inspire awe
Plus, aquatic therapists are studying the ways water can help people manage and treat PTSD, addiction, anxiety disorders and autism.
Although the ocean seems to be the most beneficial blue space, many waterways — including swimming pools and fountains — can immerse you in the positive effects of blue mind. The one caveat is that you must be physically near the water to truly benefit from it. Scrolling through ocean views on social media or flipping through a magazine won’t have the same effect.
Come Live on the Bay!
If you’re wondering where to live your dream lifestyle, consider Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay. Here, blue space is right outside your door. Our bayfront location means the peace and tranquility of blue mind are a few short steps away from your home. Or let the water entice you into more active experiences, like kayaking, swimming, fishing or exploring the nearby Virginia Beach boardwalk. No matter how you choose to spend your time here, you’re never far from the mood-boosting benefits of blue space. Contact us today to find out more.