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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 March 13, 2019

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

          Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

          You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

          Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

          1. Work on the small tasks.

          When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

          Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

          2. Take a break from your work desk.

          Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

          Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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          3. Upgrade yourself

          Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

          The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

          4. Talk to a friend.

          Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

          Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

          5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

          If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

          Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

          Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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          6. Paint a vision to work towards.

          If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

          Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

          Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

          7. Read a book (or blog).

          The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

          Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

          Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

          8. Have a quick nap.

          If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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          9. Remember why you are doing this.

          Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

          What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

          10. Find some competition.

          Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

          Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

          11. Go exercise.

          Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

          Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

          As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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          Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

          12. Take a good break.

          Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

          Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

          Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

          Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

          More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

          Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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