By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory
While people who are lucky enough to live near a beach might take it for granted, there’s no denying that they miss the sea when they have to go away for a while. There’s something about the way the waves crash against the rocks and onto the sand. It has an oddly relaxing effect on people and actually helps them feel less stressed.
Now, this is more than just common knowledge as a recent study published in Health & Place has effectively proven that even if it is a humdrum urban locality if you live close to the seashore, it improves your mental health enormously.
Researchers from Canterbury University in New Zealand and from Michigan State University who conducted the study concentrated on whether water or blue spaces have an impact on cities and whether they truly bring down stress levels.
In the study, water bodies like seas and oceans were termed as blue areas. Parks and forests were referred to as green areas. The study was conducted on Wellington, a city in New Zealand with a population of about half a million. The city is also conveniently located right next to the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
All the geographic details of the area which can be seen by people were taken into account. The researchers also considered a survey conducted in 2011-2012 about the life of the people living in Wellington. They then put the survey and the geographic details together.
According to Amber L. Pearson, a member of the team conducting the study, being able to see blue areas for longer periods is actually connected to better mental health. But the same logic doesn’t work if the area is green. This feature was consistent among people of all ages, genders, classes, and from all areas as well.
Of course, this doesn’t refer to all green areas. If a green area is not refined in any way, it could have the same effects of a blue area. Pearson argues that this may be due to the fact that the blue area is one hundred percent natural without any human interference. The green area, on the other hand, is also inclusive of spaces that are created and controlled by human beings like parks and playgrounds. Even though there are also unrefined places like forests, the effect is impaired by the surrounding human environments. It is likely that if there were only forests in view, the results would not be the same.
Over time, the researchers aim to get a more comprehensive understanding of this hypothesis by doing the same study in other cities and different water bodies. With a better understanding of environmental factors, they intend to improve city planning and guarantee better lives for people worldwide.
IMAGE CREDIT: enki