Have a good look at the photo above. It is one of my favorites. I took it at Inch Beach in County Kerry, Ireland on my last trip home. It is not too far from where I grew up.
Another reason it is one of my all-time favorites is that you can almost feel how much the people are enjoying the sea air and their wellbeing in such a splendid location.
What’s the story?
Most studies done so far have shown that the proximity to the sea or other water locations is a great plus factor in managing our health and living better lives.
If you live near water, it is a bonus for your well-being. When water is the main feature in an outdoor or indoor environment, this is known as “blue space”. But people can also access it virtually thanks to modern technology. We do not realize how lucky we are.
Everyone is talking about green time and staying near trees.
But water? It has somehow been overlooked.
Now take a look at this photo which was taken at the beach where I often go for a walk or a swim. My last swim there was just over a week ago. Yes, that’s me surveying my kingdom!
I am one of the lucky ones as I live only 11 km from the Mediterranean Sea so it is great to get there in summer, winter or when there is a storm!
Sea air is the best of all. It can be a boost for serotonin levels and that will boost your well-being. You can feel more alert with the sea breeze. Those negative ions in the sea air help you to absorb more oxygen.
“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
But other blue space locations are also good for you. Lakes, waterfalls, and rivers. You could have a fountain in your garden!
Water is such a powerful symbol in our lives
It all starts in the womb. That is where we spent nine months in amniotic fluid. We were in the water from the very beginning. This is why the sound of water is so soothing because it strikes a chord with our subconscious. That was probably the most tranquil period of our lives.
The symbolism of water in religion is extensive:-
Sacred rivers (Tiber and Ganges)
Miracles (Jesus walking on water and turning water into wine)
“We have created every living thing from water.” — The Koran
“Praised be Thou, O Lord, for sister water, who is very useful, humble, precious, and chaste.” — St. Francis of Assisi
Whether we are religious or not, most of us enjoy spa waters or swimming. Nothing like a long hot bath when we have the time.
The health benefits of blue space are mentioned in a book called “Mastering Affluence” by Carol Tuttle (not an affiliate link). The term “affluence” is not just about money, it is about our well-being as a whole.
Being close to nature is beneficial for our health as shown in many studies. Green space is great while blue space seems to bring greater benefits. But more research needs to be done.
It is fascinating to read about how people living in coastal areas are more physically active according to a study in the Blue Health project at the University of Exeter in the UK.
Another study showed that those surveyed felt the restorative power of green and blue space, they were more likely to start doing some physical activity.
Michigan State University researchers found that people who lived near the sea or had a view of water were:-
· Less stressed out
· Slept better
· Had fewer angry outbursts
Other benefits include clean air and more sunlight. We all need more Vitamin D so those living near coasts or green areas have a great advantage.
We do not have to move to the coast because if we spend about two hours a week in blue space, that will be beneficial.
“Hark, now hear the sailors cry,
Smell the sea, and feel the sky,
Let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic.-
“Into the Mystic” ― Van Morrison, Lit Up Inside: Selected Lyrics
If you don’t live near the coast or the sea…
Look at this photo. It is my sister’s swimming pool in France in a perfect green space setting. She lives so far from the coast that this was the ideal solution.
The perfect combination of green and blue space!