Hello. Being by water is good for the body and the mind. As the weather turns hotter, now’s the perfect time to take advantage of the restorative power of ‘blue therapy’.
What is ‘blue therapy’?
The healing power of water isn’t a new idea. The the ancient Greeks soaked in thermal springs to help them feel better and the Victorians often took seaside trips to recuperate or convalesce.
It isn’t just about being by the sea either – rivers, lakes, canals, waterfalls, even fountains, can give a boost to your well-being. Researchers have suggested that the associated soundscape and the quality of light on water might be enough to have a restorative effect.
How can it help me to feel better?
A growing body of literature suggests that natural outdoor environments can potentially improve human health and well-being. It might help reduce levels of stress, low mood and anxiety as well as promoting physical activity and boosting social relationships.
Importantly spending time in blue space has more of a psychologically restorative effect than spending time in other natural environments. Being around water has consistently been shown to lead to significantly higher benefits, in inducing positive mood and reducing negative mood and stress, than green space does.
10 ways to get some ‘blue therapy’
Spending 20 minutes a day, four times a week, in blue space has a positive effect on mood vitality and mental health. Here are 10 ways to boost your blue:
1. Check out where your nearest lake, river or beach is and plan some daily or weekly walks to include them.
2. If you’re in a town or city take a walk by by a river or canal on your way to and from work or eat your lunch next to a fountain in a park.
3. Try a dip in the sea. Cold water swimming has lots of benefits from reducing stress to boosting your immune system. Even having a paddle can give you a boost.
4. Turn your shower to cold to get an invigorating blast. Start slowly, building up gradually from 30 seconds.
5. Install a simple water feature in your garden
6. Have a restorative bath and add some mineral salts for an extra boost.
7. Simply sitting and gazing at the horizon can give a sense of peace, perspective and comfort.
8. Listening to the sound of water inspires calmness, focus and creativity. If you can’t be by the real thing download an app that has sounds of the ocean or running water.
9. Take in the view. An awe inspiring view of the sea boosts relaxation levels. Next time you find one, stand still, breathe deeply and give yourself time to absorb what you can see and feel.
10. Next time you’re by the water, try this simple relaxation exercise:
Sit quietly and close your eyes. Turn your focus to your other senses. Listen to the sounds around you, maybe the splashing of water, the crunch of pebbles, or seagulls in the distance. Feel the sun or breeze on your face. Smell the salty air.
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