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Tags: nature | green spaces | blue spaces | lakes | oceans | canals | mental health

Exposure to Green Spaces and Water — Even Virtually — Boosts Mental Health

a woman on a stone porch, arms up, looking out at ocean
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 02 September 2022 02:36 PM EDT

Spending time in nature boosts your mental health, say experts. And now research shows that being around water in what experts call “blue spaces” has particular health benefits. These studies found that people who live near blue spaces — lakes, oceans and even canals ─ have lower risks for mental health issues. People who visit areas with water frequently also report less mental distress and better overall well-being.

In July, a study published in Scientific Reports, concluded that rapid urbanization has become an important risk factor for poor mental health. The authors of the study point out that adding green spaces in urban areas has long been recognized as a way to boost mental and social well-being. Living near blue spaces, defined as urban coastlines, rivers, canals, and lakes is also associated with lower psychological distress and better self-reported mental health.

Another report published last April in the same journal, analyzed data from an 18-country survey and found that nature connectedness helped boost positive well-being and reduced mental distress.

According to TODAY, you don’t even have to physically get to a body of water to experience the soothing benefits. Dr. Natalie Azar, assistant clinical professor of rheumatology at NYU Langone Medical Center, said that just listening or watching videos of water can help reap these benefits.

“You only need maybe up to two hours a week,” she explained. “So a couple of minutes every day of that exposure can make a difference.”

Here’s how being near water provides mental health benefits:

• It creates a sense of awe. Azar says that being around water gives us a sense “of something greater than ourselves and expands your mind a little.”

• It’s soothing. The sound, smell, and sight of a body of water can be very soothing. It may also remind you of a fond childhood memory of vacationing by the sea, which can trigger a calming, positive state of mind.

• It fosters mindfulness. “Water is dynamic,” noted Azar. “It has different colors. It’s moving. And so your attention is on that rather than all the noise out there.” The expert adds that floating on water allows your body to relax and rest.

© 2022 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.


Health-News
Spending time in nature boosts your mental health, say experts. And now research shows that being around water in what experts call "blue spaces" has particular health benefits. These studies found that people who live near blue spaces - lakes, oceans and even canals ─ have...
nature, green spaces, blue spaces, lakes, oceans, canals, mental health, anxiety
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2022-36-02
Friday, 02 September 2022 02:36 PM
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