The idea of “blue spaces,” which was initially discovered by researchers ten years ago, is proving to be a potent, useful tool for mental health.

In the past 10 years, boarding a ship has grown in popularity, but now this kind of mindfulness exercise usually takes place from the comfort of one’s home or a therapist’s office rather than on the deck of a ship. However, the UK nonprofit Sea Sanctuary thinks the way it combines treatment and aquatic activities for mental health assistance is particularly effective. The charity has been planning excursions along the Cornwall coastline since 2006 as a proponent of “blue health,” the idea that being in or close to blue areas like rivers, lakes, and the sea improves our mental well-being. When 20,000 people were asked to record their emotions at random intervals by University of Sussex academics over ten years ago, the idea of “blue health” was born. Over a million replies were gathered, and it was discovered that people were by far the happiest in blue areas. An increasing tide of mental health illnesses has been connected to the decrease in interaction between people and nature. An increasing body of research shows that nature and human health are inextricably intertwined, both physically and mentally.

Our healthcare systems have a strong tendency to treat issues as they arise. Spending more money on health promotion and preventative measures is necessary. Health, climate catastrophe, urban livability, flooding, water quality, biodiversity, and community cohesion would all benefit from enhancing our blue spaces.