How to reap the benefits of blue space
- Make an effort to spend time near water. You don't have to live next to the beach to enjoy the blue space effect. "It's too early to say you need to spend X minutes a week near water. But good health practices recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day," says Associate Professor Christian. Spend as much of that recommended time as possible being active around water.
- Make blue space your time. "I take my dog to the beach on the weekend and that's my time to engage with the coastline," says Associate Professor Christian. "Take a book and read by the water or just sit and contemplate and be immersed in that blue space."
- Consider travelling to work a different way – perhaps a route that provides some exposure to water views. "Can you pass a piece of open water, or perhaps a green space on your way to work?" asks Professor Kingham.
- If you can't get to the water, there may be some benefit to listening to water. "You might be inside, but when you play the sound of waves crashing on a beach, how does that make you feel? This sound is often used in meditation and may have some positive impact without us having to be near water," says Associate Professor Christian.
- When you're choosing your next weekend break or holiday, consider a destination where you can spend time next to natural water.
- "Often people can lack the motivation to get out. If you know someone with a mental health problem, take them for a walk along the beach or by the river," says Professor Kingham. "I think it's the whole package that helps – the sound of water, the smell of the ocean, the view. And you're getting some exercise as you walk, too."
- Make water part of family outings and social gatherings. "Have family time, meet relatives near a blue space, take children out to a park and watch the water, or have a birthday celebration in a blue space," suggests Associate Professor Christian.