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Scientists Confirm Living Near Water Can Improve Mental Health

Scientists Confirm Living Near Water Can Improve Mental Health

We all love the scenic views of the ocean, lakes, streams and even ponds. There just seems to be something calming about water, and people everywhere stop to look when they see even a painting where water is featured. Beachfront vacations are the most popular around the world because we associate water with relaxation. So it wasn’t surprising when a recent study confirmed what we already know–water is good for the soul.

The study, published in the journal Health & Place, found that people who live near water have better mental health than those who don’t. It is thought that those who live near trees and lots of green space have an advantage, but the study discovered that water trumps trees every time. Researchers made sure to look at other factors as well, such as financial information and job stress, but they still found that to improve mental health, you must be able to see water from where you live. So what is it about water that gives it the power to improve mental health?

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Water puts things in perspective

ocean 2

    While this particular study focused on people living near the ocean, those who live close to lakes and rivers also know the calming effect that water has on them. There is something about seeing and hearing the movement of water that calms the soul. It’s so much bigger than you, your problems, your stress, that it seems to put things in perspective. Most of the time you don’t even realize you are gaining perspective on your problems by looking out at the water, but somewhere deep down, in your subconscious, it happens.

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    It could be the ocean air

    ocean 3

      A couple hundred years ago, ocean air was prescribed by doctors when patients were not doing well. Sometimes the only antidote they could suggest was to take the patient to the ocean for an extended time. There were times when this did not work, but for some, the ocean air was what they needed to get well. No doctor prescribes time by the ocean anymore, but maybe they should in some cases. The researchers who conducted this study are not sure what it is about the water that improves mental health, but whatever it is, we need more of it!

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      The tide could improve mental health

      ocean

        Well, not the tide alone, but the entire “order” of the ocean. No matter what’s going on in your life, or in the world, the ocean never stops. The tide comes in and out every day, right on time, regardless of what is happening. Waves continually come crashing to the shore, no matter what is going on inside or outside of the water. Maybe it’s the steadiness of the ocean that has the power to improve mental health.

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        What if you can’t live near water?

        lake

          There are still things you can do to improve your mental health if it is not possible to live near water. Vast amounts of people live far inland, and there has to be something they can do for their mental health as well.

          Beachfront vacations are one suggestion, and they don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. If you can’t afford to go to a resort, why don’t you try vacationing by a closer ocean? For example, if you live in Canada, go to the West or East coast for a few days. Spend some quality time by the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean and take it all in. Picture your worries going out with the tide. You can also invest in some pictures or paintings of the ocean and display them in your home. Put ocean sounds on and spend a few minutes each day looking at these scenes and relaxing. This way you still get the sights and sounds of the ocean, even though you can’t physically be there.

          Another suggestion is to rent a cottage for a few days in the summer. Spend a few days at a nearby lake as often as possible. If you live close enough to a lake, you can even go for walks along the beach in any season. When you have the opportunity to be near water, take it. You’ll be amazed at what it will do to improve mental health.

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          Last Updated on August 20, 2018

          35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

          35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

          Every mature relationship has had a less-than-memorable anniversary. Maybe one of you forgot, or both of you got busy with work, kids, family issues, or something else. Whatever happened, the day came and went without fanfare. And neither of you seemed to notice or much care.

          But for the health of any relationship, it’s important to make important days feel special. Anniversaries offer the wonderful opportunity to relive beautiful memories, practice gratefulness for your partner, and to show your love and strengthen your bond. Make this year’s anniversary with your significant other something special  — one that will bring you closer together.

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          The best way to create a memorable anniversary is to do something new and different together as a couple. Stretch yourselves a bit.

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          While boredom can silently kill a relationship, new experiences reinforce the shared bond you already have and create strong new memories. Just think back to the most significant memories you have right now with your spouse and imagine what new ones you can create!

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          While you enjoy your chosen anniversary activity, be sure to keep a positive attitude and make your partner happy too on that day. Leave all arguments and day to day detail behind. Just celebrate your relationship. Whether you’re going to spend the day together at home, getting away, or having a wild and crazy new experience together, you can have your best anniversary yet!

          If You’re Staying In

          1. Spend an evening with no technology, just the two of you and maybe a board game. It’s hard to keep ourselves away from our computers and smartphones long enough to have a meaningful conversation. Make a rule not to use your tech and you’ll rekindle your relationship!
          2. Make wine or beer together. If you enjoy drinking together, this is a fun activity to try together. Just remember to buy the necessary equipment ahead of time.
          3. Learn something new about each other. With an open mind, try asking some of the New York Times’ 36 questions that lead to love. They’ll help spark intimacy and will lead to some really honest moments.
          4. Have a lazy day. Breakfasts in bed, spend all day in bed talking and napping. Follow breakfast with champagne and dessert! If you feel like getting more active, cook together or play some games. Here’re some simple breakfast ideas for you.
            • Learn to dance at home. This is best for those active couples who work out together and also enjoy learning something new together. Just go on Youtube to find any music with dance tutorials and learn together.
            • Visit model homes or open houses and plan your dream home.
            • Have a special dessert – champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Having an unusual treat makes a day feel extra special. If you want to make the dessert really special, try these tasty dessert recipes.
            • Create a playlist of your favorite songs as a couple. Choose songs that tell your story, and songs that you bonded over throughout your relationships. Here’re some love songs ideas for your inspirations.
              • Write your love story. Write it together or ave each of you write your own and then bring them together in an interesting, both sides of the story format.
              • Get a fondue pot. Fondue is a fun way to enjoy melted cheeses (for savory items) and melted chocolate (for sweeter treats).
              • Decorate! Turn your home into a dressed-up french cottage, a sophisticated restaurant, or simply with flowers. The different ambience will immediately change the feel of your home and make it feel like a staycation.
                • Talk about the future together. It might sound simple and everyday, but imagining how you want to spend your retirement together, or planning future trips can be exciting and romantic.

                If You Want to Get Away

                1. Take a day trip together to your favorite spot. If you live in a city, it can be incredibly refreshing to get away for an afternoon and drink in the outdoors.
                2. Go on a scenic drive and stop at a wine and cheese bar. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have lots of options where you live, try a brewpub. There are tons of small craft breweries with fantastic food options too.
                3. Go camping. Relatively affordable and, if the weather’s right, beautiful and romantic.
                  • Take an overnight backpacking trip. For the more adventurous couples, backpacking is an even more intense way to challenge yourself physically while becoming one with nature.
                  • Take a wine tasting tour. If you live on the West Coast or in the Northeast, take a drive to the nearest winery. Many offer relatively inexpensive tastings and deals if you purchase a certain amount.
                  • Take a scenic train trip. Taking the train means less stress traveling: nobody has to drive, you don’t have to stop for breaks every few hours, and you can sleep if you need to!
                  • Save up for a destination vacation. What better time than your anniversary to enjoy the beach at a beautiful resort?
                  • Explore a new city. Whether you’re on a budget or have a lot saved up, you can have a great time just exploring an unfamiliar town.
                  • Rent a cabin for a weekend away, in the woods or next to a lake or ocean. If you like the outdoors but can only take so much nature, try glamping.
                    • Go on a retreat. Yoga retreats, meditation retreats, beautiful natural surroundings … they’re all the rage. Search for centeredness and calm with your partner.
                    • Spend a day at a food festival. Many cities have fun and affordable food festivals, occasionally based on a theme. Check out your town’s (or a nearby city) calendar for inspiration!

                    New & Exciting Experiences

                    1. Go spelunking. Dark, damp, and utterly exciting!
                    2. Go on a hot air balloon ride. Because the basket is relatively small, this can be a romantic and deeply personal – and yet thrilling –
                      experience.
                      • Try sky diving. If you and you S.O. are real thrill-seekers, sky diving can really push you to the edge!
                      • Explore the underwater world by snorkeling or scuba diving. This may take you far away from where you normally live and work, which is an added bonus.
                      • Experience white water rafting.
                      • Drive or hike to the highest spot nearby for a new view of the world. America has tons of beautiful mountains where challenging hikes (or drives) can deliver breathtaking views.
                      • Take a craft or cooking class. Up your craft skills or food  making skills, and enjoy something new!
                        • Take a wine and painting class today. These classes are easily found these days and even a beginning painter can create a nice painting. Challenging but relaxing, fun, and you get to go home with some artwork!
                        • Learn to salsa dance. Dancing is a fantastic way to actively get closer and coordinate physically with one another.
                          • Visit a nearby festival you’ve always wanted to go to. Have fun and let go with fellow audience-members!
                          • Spend the day at an amusement park together. Laugh and carry on like teenagers.
                          • Meet new people! At a restaurant, concert, or class, make it a point to meet new friends. Striking up conversation with someone you don’t know – but with whom you have shared interests – can be an adventurous and rewarding experience.

                          Whether your budget is big or small, and whether you have a little or a ton of time together, focus on each other. There are tons of options, in terms of location, level of physical activity, and cost. You can make the day special in a way that’s right for you!

                          Featured photo credit: Photo by Taylor L. Spurgeon on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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