Natural “blue space” aquatic areas such as oceans, lakes, rivers, and the like seem to have positive benefits on our mental health.
Each color of the spectrum has unique feelings associated with it. For example, yellow is commonly linked to optimism and joy, while pink often represents love and care.
Blue, on the other hand, expresses peace and tranquility. Humans tend to be more trusting around this color, as well.
From our vibrant sky to oceans, lakes, and rivers, various shades of blue surround us every day. Considering these factors, scientists have delved into this topic to explore the therapeutic benefits that surround what is called “blue space,” i.e. aquatic areas such as oceans, lakes, rivers, and the like.
Researchers have discovered that those who visited blue spaces more frequently and for extended periods of time reported greater well-being and had a lower risk of depression. These rates exceeded those who permanently lived on oceans, lakes, and other bodies of water.
Another study supported the claim that blue space is associated with fewer cases of depression. “Coastal Blue Space and Depression in Older Adults” in Health & Place by Dempsey and colleagues studied these relationships in an older Irish population.
Participants who had increased exposure to coastlines had improved mental health status and less risk for depression. Interestingly, those with better views of this blue space had the best outcomes.
Many more experimental findings have linked regularly visiting blue space with improved mental status and lower stress levels.
For example, Gascon and colleagues analyzed 35 studies in their systematic review, “Outdoor blue spaces, human health and well-being: A systematic review of quantitative studies,” in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, and found consistent evidence supporting this relationship.
From this data, investigators concluded that repeated visits to blue space related to improved mental health and well-being. They also discovered a correlation between exposure and increased physical activity, suggesting that these individuals are also potentially healthier than their counterpart.
Spending time in blue spaces not only makes you happier, but outdoor activities may also be therapeutic for those suffering from mental illnesses.
A Health Promotion International publishing called, “Blue care: a systematic review of blue space interventions for health and wellbeing,” by Britton and colleagues hones in on this theory.
After reviewing 33 studies, researchers found sufficient evidence to conclude that outdoor activities, such as surfing, Dragon Boat Racing, sailing, fly-fishing, kayaking, and canoeing may improve psychosocial and mental functioning. The highest success rates were in those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), drug and alcohol addiction, and breast cancer.
Interacting with our environment is more beneficial than you might think. Blue spaces are healing and improve mental health significantly. Merely taking an evening walk along the lakeshore can do wonders for your psyche.