No need to get wet: being just near a blue space is great for your health

If you needed an excuse to hit the coast year then you’ll be happy to learn that going to the beach changes your brain, according to science. Actually, being near any body of water (think: lake, river or the sea) brings many health benefits for your mind and body in what scientists call “blue space.”

In fact, a new study from the Journal of Environmental Psychology reveals that exposure to blue space as a child has a major impact on a person’s mental health and will encourage them to maintain a healthy relationship with nature into adulthood.

“Building familiarity with and confidence in and around blue spaces in childhood may stimulate a joy of, and greater propensity to spend recreational time in, nature in adulthood, with positive consequences for adult subjective well-being,” says the study.

Related: 30 Things You Can Do at the Beach (Besides Build a Sandcastle)

Devon Daniel/Unsplash

The study involved 18 countries and examined the relationship between adult well being and a person’s exposure to blue space as a child. Respondents shared their experiences with blue space during childhood, including how frequently they visited it and how comfortable their parents were allowing them to be in and near water. In a nutshell: the more blue space exposure as a child equalled a better adult well being.

“Adults also had familiarity with and confidence around coasts, rivers, and lakes, as well as higher levels of joy around bodies of water and a greater propensity to spend recreational time in nature during adulthood, says WebMD. “In turn, this lifted their mood and wellbeing.”

The impact that bodies of water have on our well-being are numerous: reduced depression, increased levels of creativity, and the ability to naturally de-stress are just a few. Now you know why spending time soaking up the waves and summer sun makes you feel so amazing!

Here’s how it works. Scientists say that being near water and listening to the waves can bring you to a more meditative state and lead to reduced depression. The undulating waves are relaxing, acting as a de-stimulator and can help bring more mental clarity as well.

While your mind is in a relaxed state, you are more likely to be more creative as your brain rests. The blue state helps take you away from the everyday stressors of life and you are free to let your imagination roam. The Global Healing Center recommends literally surrounding yourself with the color blue to bring about a sense of calm and inspire creativity.

Related: 9 Ways You Can Support Your Child’s Mental Health Right Now

Andie Huber

Scientists also say that a swim in the ocean can de-stress you, stat. Not only can the water feel refreshing, but the naturally occurring negative ions are also said to help counteract the positive ions we come into contact with on a day to day basis, leaving us in a more peaceful and relaxed state.

Just stepping foot onto the sandy shores of the beach does a body good. Researchers say that the simple act of touching sun-warmed sand brings almost immediate comfort––unless you’re not a sand person.

Finally, standing in front of a huge body of water can give you a fresh perspective on life. That sense of awe you feel being next to something so huge in life can really minimize the things you stress on from day to day.

The next time you’re feeling dragged down by life, why not hit up your closest beach? Indulge in the blue space––your mind and body will thank you.


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