A new research study on stress and ocean views has determined that a view of the ocean or another body of water may be very relaxing and help to relieve stress. The study from Michigan State University shows that there is a link between water visibility, also referred to as blue space, and lower stress that results in better health. Health geography assistant professor Amber L. Pearson explained that “Increased views of blue space is significantly associated with lower levels of psychological distress. However, we did not find that with green space.” The study used a variety of topographical data to study the blue and green spaces which are visible from residential locations situated in Wellington, New Zealand. This city is surrounded by water, with the Tasman Sea to the north of the city and the Pacific Ocean to the south.
For the research study on stress and spaces green space was defined as any green space, and that included parks full of grass and forests. The researchers also used data that was compiled as part of the New Zealand Health Survey in order to gauge any psychological distress. The study results showed that having a view of the ocean or other large body of water led to an improvement in mental health. This was true even after the different variables such as age and wealth were factored in. While green spaces did not have the same effect this could be a result of not distinguishing between the different types of green space according to Pearson. “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. Perhaps if we only looked at native forests we might find something different.”