You may have heard of a ‘green space’ i.e a garden, a meadow, or a forest, but recently the term "blue space" has gained traction, and for good reason. So, what exactly is a blue space, and how does it benefit our mental well-being? We’ve taken a closer look at the remarkable ways in which blue spaces can positively impact our mental health.
Read on to find out more about blue spaces.
Defining Blue Space
A blue space refers to any natural water body, such as oceans, lakes, rivers, and even smaller bodies of water like ponds or fountains. It's the counterpart of the more commonly known term "green space," which signifies natural environments like parks, forests, and gardens. Blue spaces, however, focus on the presence of water and the serene feelings associated with aquatic settings.
The Power of Water
Numerous scientific studies have highlighted the therapeutic effects of blue spaces on mental well-being. The sight and sound of water can induce a sense of calm and relaxation, triggering what's often referred to as the "blue mind" state. The gentle lapping of waves, the rhythmic flow of a river, or the expansive view of an ocean horizon can all contribute to reducing stress and anxiety levels.
Mental health benefits of blue spaces include...
Blue spaces can reduce stress and promote a state of rest and relaxation. The sound of water, whether it's the gentle trickle of a stream or the crashing of waves, can lower cortisol levels and alleviate tension.
Being near water triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural mood enhancers. The soothing nature of blue spaces can uplift mood and provide respite from the demands of daily life.
Connection with Nature
The sight of water can give us a sense of connection with the natural world. This connection has been shown to foster feelings of gratitude and well-being.
Many blue spaces offer opportunities for a little bit of physical activity like walking along the shore which not only benefits physical health but also promotes mental wellness.
How can we Incorporating Blue Spaces into Daily Life?
Living on an island, we are extremely lucky to be surrounded by beautiful beaches offering up plenty of blue space but not everyone has access to vast oceans or serene lakes. If you aren’t lucky enough to have the beach on your doorstep, there are other ways to incorporate blue spaces into daily life for mental health benefits.
Visit other local water bodies
Seek out nearby lakes, rivers, or even urban water features like fountains to enjoy moments of tranquillity.
Listening to recordings of water sounds or using apps that simulate the sounds of oceans or rivers can help create a calming atmosphere.
Indoor Water Features:
Adding indoor water features like tabletop fountains or aquariums can provide a touch of blue space within the living environment.
When physical access is limited, virtual reality experiences or nature documentaries centered around water can provide a similar sense of relaxation.
Embracing the concept of blue spaces can offer a refreshing and invigorating way to support our mental health. Whether it's the vastness of the ocean or the serenity of a quiet pond, these natural water environments have a remarkable ability to restore our well-being and remind us of the beauty and tranquillity that exists in the world around us.