Feeling blue – Mental well-being from blue spaces

On the course Well-being from Blue Spaces, we learned about various aspects of themes related to the course name. The most interesting thing I came across with during the course was mental well-being from blue spaces and I wanted to research it a bit more. Caring for mental well-being is an integral part of life as a student, as a healthy mind learns best, and I wanted to reflect the theme in my place of study, the city of Pori.

When you think of water, what sensations arise within you?

We know that spending time in nature promotes well-being in many different ways, for example, it relieves stress, soothes the body and mind, and increases satisfaction. Studies show that nature improves perceived health (status), enhances social cohesion, and supports physical activity. You can certainly get the same benefits from spending time by the water. For example, many Finns go to the water on their holiday and feel happy there, whether it is a summer cottage on the lake or a beach holiday in the sun.

People living near the coastal areas are happier and healthier

However, the health benefits of so-called blue spaces have been studied relatively little so far, but the studies show that people living near the coastal areas are happier and healthier. The closer the blue spaces are to home, the more they strengthen the well-being of the residents. It is important to preserve the opportunity for Finns to experience the health benefits of nature and water through good urban planning and the protection of nearby nature, especially due to the densification of residential areas and increasingly technical way of life.

The city of Pori provides a favorable setting for an urban blue space, the central park Kirjurinluoto, by the river Kokemäenjoki, in the heart of the city. In addition to being a relaxing oasis in the middle of the city, Kirjurinluoto provides great facilities for recreational activities, such as swimming, beach volley and disc golf, as well as walking, running and cycling on natural trails and routes.

Just a short drive away from the city center, is another charming and peaceful place to feel good, Meri-Pori. The revitalizing maritime area is best known for the endless sandy beach, Yyteri – one of the longest beaches in the Nordic countries.

Many find just viewing the sea a calming experience. After all, the positive associations with mental well-being seem more pronounced in the coastal blue spaces than in urban waters.

Get your good mood from the blue!

Text and pictures: Julia Alankoja, third year International Tourism Management student