The Key to Being Happier and Less Stressed? Live by Water.
Have you ever noticed a sense of well-being surrounding you when you spend time near a blue space, such as a river, lake, or the ocean? A growing body of scientific evidence shows that water has numerous therapeutic benefits for the body and the soul, so if you’re wondering, “Does living near the water make you happy?”, for most people the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
Making your home on the coast is one surefire way to reap the many health benefits of living near water.
Sense of Calm
In his book “Blue Mind,” biologist Dr. Wallace Nichols documents the sense of peace that people feel when being on or near the water. His research shows that anxiety and stress are lower near the water, which leads him to the assertion that it’s easier to enjoy feelings of happiness when you’re near or in a body of water.
What’s more, Nichols points out that the calming effects of water are so powerful that aquatic therapy is increasingly common to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. Similarly, research shows that aquatic exercise can reduce stress, depression, and anxiety in seniors. Some experts even believe the sounds of the sea stimulate the brain to release feel-good chemicals for an instant mood boost.
Another health benefit of living near water may lie in the way water captures your attention and allows you to focus on something other than yourself. This concept of psychological restoration is among the mental and physical health benefits of living near water that BlueHealth researchers reported in their five-year study on the intersection of environment and health.
To some degree, water’s healing powers may come from the simple pleasure of visiting the shore. After all, it’s typically a journey one makes purely for pleasure and often in the company of loved ones. Dr. Mathew White, an environmental psychologist with BlueHealth, also points out that the sights and sounds of the coast allow visitors to develop a healing connection with nature as they contemplate the patterns and forces that drive it.
It’s no accident that so many sleep machines are equipped with water sounds, like ocean waves crashing or the steady rhythm of a rainstorm. You can count a better night of sleep among the health benefits of living near water. That’s because the steady rise and fall of waves is a soothing, nonthreatening sound that may actually mask other noises with the potential to disrupt your peaceful rest.
Mindfulness and Meditation
The soothing lull of the ocean may be good for sleep, but there are also health benefits of living near water when you’re in a wakeful state. Immersing yourself in a coastal setting, whether on the water or on the shore, allows you to focus on patterns of sound and movement—all of which are ideal for meditation and thoughtful reflection.
An afternoon enjoying the gentle lap of ocean waves comes with pleasant side effects like the physical activity (even if it’s just a casual stroll on the beach), plenty of fresh air, and extra vitamin D, thanks to the sun’s rays. Vitamin D deficiencies are quite common, but this all-important vitamin plays several important roles in the body, including regulating calcium for stronger bones and boosting your immune system.
There’s ample evidence that water influences health in other ways, too, even if the setting is artificial. For example, researchers found reduced heart rates and blood pressure among people who observed aquariums at various stages (with and without fish). Now you know there’s some science behind the fish tanks that are so common in medical waiting rooms and some senior living communities!
Retiring to the Coast
If you’re wondering where to retire and coastal living is your dream, The Moorings at Lewes may be the perfect place for you to take advantage of the health benefits of living near water. With miles of stunning dune-backed beaches nearby, The Moorings puts ample blue space within easy reach, along with resort-like amenities and an award-winning wellness program that promotes whole-person health.
Schedule a tour to explore everything that makes this vibrant senior living community one of Delaware’s best places to retire near water.