Living by the Sea Shown to Improve Mental Healthadmin
An article published in this month’s issue of Health & Place claims that “residential exposure to visible blue space (but not green space) [is] associated with lower psychological distress”. In otherwords – living somewhere that allows for a view of the ocean has been linked to improved mental health.
Researchers from the University of Canterbury and Michigan State University examined the visibility of blue spaces (water regions such as beaches and oceans) and green spaces (parks and forests) in Wellington, New Zealand, an urban capital city next to the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean. The researchers compared this data with information obtained from the New Zealand Health Survey, which was used to assess anxiety and mood disorders. As previously mentioned, the team found a correlation between people who had a view of the ocean and positive mental health, exposure to green space showed no such correlation.
In a statement published on MSU’s website, study co-author Amber Pearson explains this “could be because blue space was all natural, while green space included human-made areas, such as sports fields and playgrounds, as well as natural area such as native forests. Perhaps if we only looked at native forests we might find something different.”
“Like most wealthy countries, New Zealand is highly urbanized,” the statemet continued, “meaning effective city planning is increasingly important…Designating a proportion of high-rise buildings or affordable homes in locations with ocean views could potentially promote mental health.”
Pearson and study co-author Daniel Nutsford of University of Canterbury hope to conduct similar studies “in areas that harbor other types of large bodies of water, such as the Great Lakes. Eventually they hope that a more comprehensive understanding of our surrounding environment and its effect on our health could help guide more effective city planning,” IFLScience reported.