The calming effects of water

How often do you think that the everyday life with all the work, studies, chores etc. is getting all too much for you? How often do you wish for an escape from your everyday life? I bet most of you answered that a break from the everyday life would be much needed as often as possible. So did I. So where should you go when you feel like the stress of the daily routines is getting too much for you? You should definitely find your way to the nearest body of water, whether it is a lake, a river or a sea does not matter, you should find your way to it. Even though you might think that a visit to a nearby shore does really not fit your busy schedule or it doesn’t sound like it would be any help to you, you’d be surprised how big of an effect it might have on your mental and physical health.

You might think that sitting on a shore and doing nothing would be a really boring way of spending your time, but it actually is one of the best ways of relaxing your brain. Just watching the water surface, whether it is calm or rough, can really help you to relax and find that much sought after peace of mind for the short time that you are next to water. Of course, our brains control all the senses of human body, and seeing is not the only thing that can help our brains to relax. Listening to the calming voice of the water as well as smelling the, lets say, ocean air can really make your brains just switch of for a second and you will be able to totally relax just from being near a body of water.

Of course just sitting and admiring the water might not be for everyone, but that is not the only way you can improve your mental and physical health when visiting a body of water. Water enables multiple different activities that are beneficial for both mind and body. Exercises and activities in general are very good for both mental and physical health, but adding the water aspect to the exercises can boost that positive effect even more. Swimming for example is not only a great form of exercise for the muscles of the body, but it also is beneficial for the health of your skin as well as it is beneficial for your mind. The sort of flowing feeling of freedom you get from swimming is ideal for your brains to relax.

Other water activities, such as surfing or wakeboarding for example, are also great ways of escaping the routine and switching of for a second, but all the activities do not have to be physical activities. Going for a boat ride or going fishing might not be a form of exercise, but those type of activities are an ideal way of relaxing. Think about it; you are flowing on the middle of a quiet lake on a boat, there is no one anywhere near and you can just enjoy the sound of nature. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

That is something that we all should seek after, make some room from our busy schedules for finding different ways of relaxing our body and mind, since without those breaks, we really can not manage.

Text: Markus Järvinen, second year International Tourism Management student
Pictures: Unsplash

Are blue spaces cure to feeling blue?

In the wellness tourism industry there is talk about so called blue spaces. What are those exactly? Well, blue spaces are referred as spaces with open water. So, trip to the coastline or riverside would be considered as visiting blue spaces. They also include ponds, springs, waterfalls and even spas.

We live in a highly modernized world with next to no connection to the nature at least in the big cities. No wonder people are stressed and unhappy all the time. Work is hectic and one can’t practise selfcare enough or do it the right way. Sure, eating or drinking your feelings is a way to manage them in a pinch but in a long run it’s only harmful to you and people around you. The last thing you should want is to be a burden to the people you love to an overly exhorted way. But stress can be hard to manage on your own, so it’s human to try to release it which ever way takes it away the fastest.

 So, why don’t we experiment

Imagine you arriving to a remote riverside in search of a way to pause your busy life. This is what you see, take a good look at the picture below.

Source: Pixabay

You can see the clear blue water gently rushing by hugging the land around it. You can hear the calming song of the water as it passes you by welcoming you to its presence, inviting you to take a deep breath. You can smell the fresh water in the air with luscious forest around you.

After taking the mandatory Instagram picture you sit down and gaze at the water and maybe get curious about how cold the water is. By touching it you find out its quite chilly but pleasant. The sight, sound and smell of the environment has called you back to where you once belonged. Taking a few more deep breaths filled with fresh air, you can feel the stress melting away.

How did that make you feel?

According to studies blue spaces have a positive effect on the human psychology and wellbeing and they are linked with health and happiness. Mental health is important especially during this pandemic time and going back to nature could be one of the solutions to increase it. Being around aquatic environments has mood increasing properties such as generally being in a better mood and reducing stress and negative moods. Visibility of blue spaces have a lowering impact on psychological distress. This fact could be used in the future when planning cities or it could be a part of one’s moving criteria. The happiest people are said to be those living near a blue space, especially near the ocean.

All in all blue spaces are worth taking a look at when trying to de-stress or pause for a bit. Mental heath is an important force for people to have the strength to keep going in a world that doesn’t sleep. Remembering to take care of yourself increases happiness and peace of mind.

Text: Kia Aroautero, Tourism student from Haaga-Helia.
Kia took part in SAMK’s online course Well-being from Blue Spaces via CampusOnline.

Inspirational sources:

Hunt, E. 2019. Blue spaces: why time spent near water is the secret of happiness. The Guardian.

Pasanen, T. Mathew P. White, Benedict W. Wheeler, Joanne K. Garrett, Lewis R. Elliott, 2019. Neighbourhood blue space, health and wellbeing: The mediating role of different types of physical activity. Science Direct.

Pawlowski, A. 2016a. Updated 2019. Blue spaces beat green spaces when it comes to mental health, study finds. Today.

Pawlowski, A. 2019b. How does nature affect mental health? Living close to park linked with happiness. Today.