There is such a thing as a happy place, according to a recent study — and that place is near the ocean.
The University of Canterbury in New Zealand and Michigan State University joined forces and analyzed data from the New Zealand Health Survey. The researchers gathered the topographical information of Wellington, New Zealand, an urban city surrounded by the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, and related the data to their findings from studying the health survey.
They discovered that people who had a view of the ocean were more likely to have “lower levels of psychological distress.”
Researchers took into account a number of variables including wealth, age, and gender and they concluded it was the ocean, not any of the other factors they they analyzed, that improved a person’s mental state.
Michigan State University’s Amber L. Pearson, who co-authored the study, noted that while a view of the ocean, referred to as blue space, had a positive effect on a person’s mental wellbeing, green space or a view of a park did not. “It could be because the blue space was all natural, while the green space included human-made areas, such as sports fields and playgrounds, as well as natural areas such as native forests,” Pearson said.
Pearson continues by saying that it’s very possible they might arrive at a different conclusion if they focused on areas that had a view of a natural green space, like homes overlooking a forest.
It’s possible that researchers will replicate this study, which appeared in the academic journal Health & Place, and study the affects of people living around larger bodies of fresh water, like the Great Lakes. Although this would only happen if it was proven that the type of water didn’t play a part in a person’s mental wellbeing.
So if you don’t want to take the plunge and move to a place with an ocean view the least you could do to boost your mental state is take a long vacation at the beach.