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New Zealand researchers discover living by the ocean actually boosts your mental health


Mental health

(NaturalNews) There's a reason why humanity has an almost universal affinity for water: It's good for the soul, and even better for the brain. Researchers from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand found that people who live near blue spaces, meaning lakes, oceans and beaches, fare better in the mental health department than people who are landlocked, probably because being near vast expanses of water makes a person feel like he's immersed in an environment untouched by human development.

The research team surveyed folks living in the urbanized New Zealand capital of Wellington, which despite its density, is nestled nicely between the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, with plenty of spectacular views of both positioned around the city. Some of those surveyed live within eye-shot of one of these bodies of water, while others don't, and a comparative analysis of both groups was formed from this data.

The result was significantly lower levels of anxiety and mood disorders reported among residents who see water on a regular basis. Even after taking into account other factors like preexisting health conditions, age, sex and socioeconomic status, the verdict was clear: Living near large bodies of water is great for your brain, and helps you to feel happier and less stressed.

As to outdoor spaces in general, researchers stressed that the findings weren't necessarily correlative to parks and other "green" spaces, probably because these areas don't exude the same type of "great outdoors" feelings as large bodies of water typically do. Amber Pearson, one of the study's co-authors, explained in a statement that:

"It could be because the blue space was all natural, while the green space included human-made areas, such as sports fields and playgrounds, as well as natural areas such as native forests. Perhaps if we only looked at native forests we might find something different."

The verdict is in: Water is where it's at when it comes to health and well-being

In either case, the benefits of living near the sea are definitively tangible, and likely for many reasons. Besides the sheer pleasure of taking in the multiple sights, sounds and smells of a pristine aquatic environment, there are many other sensory impressions to be enjoyed, such as the purifying properties of salt when inhaled from ocean air or absorbed from ocean water.

Researchers from the University of Exeter in England determined this after evaluating the benefits of living near ocean water on human health. Since as early as the 18th century, doctors have been "prescribing" beach trips to their patients as a healing therapy, or advising them to visit so-called "bathing hospitals" for therapeutic water treatments.

Experiments conducted by epidemiologist Lora Fleming and her team in a "Blue Gym" – an environment where participants were showed various images of places around the world, many of them near water – revealed that people tend towards water environments rather than cities and other areas. People were willing to pay more on vacation to stay near oceans and lakes, in other words, than to stay in cities.

This same research showed that people who live near water – in this case, English folks living along the British coast – are generally in better health and have fewer health conditions. Moving closer to the sea, the study revealed, "significantly improves people's well-being" by about one-tenth as much as finding a new job.

Even if you don't live near the beach, you can still take advantage of the next best thing: clean, pristine drinking water. And one great option for getting this on the cheap is with the Big Berkey gravity-based water filter, one of the most advanced on the market!

Sources for this article include:

ScienceDirect.com

IFLScience.com

LiveScience.com

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