Too much stress may be solved by living near the beach. A study in the May issue of the academic journal Health & Place claims that people in areas with a view of the ocean experience less stress.

The study conducted by researchers from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand,  is the first one to associate health with visibility of water, which the team terms as “blue space.” According to them, blue space produces a calming effect because it is all natural.

“Increased views of blue space is significantly associated with lower levels of psychological distress,” adds Amber Pearson, assistant professor of health geography and a member of MSU’s Water Science Network. “However, we did not find that with green space.”


People with a view of the ocean experience less stress. Credit: Pixabay/Unsplash

On the other hand, green space is not all natural because it can also be found in man-made locations like sports fields and playgrounds apart from natural lands such as native forests.

The study involved analysing typographic data in Wellington, New Zealand. This is an urban capital city perfect for the study because it has grassy parks and forests as well as being surrounded by the Tasman Sea on the north and the Pacific Ocean on the south.

The researchers also took into account the data from the New Zealand Health Survey, which used the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale that can predict mood and anxiety disorders accurately. Blue space reduced stress unlike green space.

Hence, the team concluded that ocean views generally improves mental health. The results remained consistent even after the residents’ wealth, sex, age and other factors have all been considered.

The research can have many implications in designing urban infrastructures. This encourages that residential buildings built in highly urbanised areas should also have ocean views. Nevertheless, the researchers agree that further investigations are needed to confirm if the same benefits can also be observed in other bodies of water, particularly from great lakes around the world.