Have you heard of Blue mind and Green space? There are two fascinating concepts that I’ve always felt the benefit of, but only recently understood the science behind.
I don’t believe we always need to understand the science behind something to enjoy the benefits, but it can certainly help us to articulate or make sense of what we are already noticing.
🌊 Blue Mind refers to the calming and rejuvenating effects that being near water, such as lakes, rivers, or the ocean, can have on our mental well-being. When we’re in these aquatic environments, our brains tend to enter a state of relaxation and clarity. Research suggests that the soothing sounds and rhythmic patterns of water can help reduce stress, anxiety, and promote a sense of happiness and overall well-being.
🍃 Green space, also known as forest bathing, involves immersing oneself in nature, particularly in lush green environments like forests or parks. Scientific studies have shown that spending time in green spaces can have a range of positive effects on our physical and mental health. The phytoncides released by trees and plants in these areas have been found to boost our immune system, reduce blood pressure, and lower stress levels. The quietness, fresh air, and visual beauty of green spaces can help restore our cognitive abilities, enhance creativity, and provide a sense of tranquility and peace.
Now I know I’m about to get a bit dose of blue mind and green space over the weekend, but this doesn’t mean you need 4 days hiking in nature to enjoy the benefits of these concepts! In fact, planning regular ‘micro-doses’ might actually be more beneficial and definitely more sustainable than having one big dose and expecting it to carry you until your next hike!
If a 4 day hike is a little out of reach for you at the moment, here are some ideas on how you can incorporate just a little blue mind and green space into your week:
1. Visit a nearby water body. When I was studying physio in Brisbane, I lived in a little share unit on the river in West End. Every day I would walk along the river for 10mins to jump on the city cat, which took me across to Uni. Even when I was running late, I felt that just being near the water calmed me. This is where I first really noticed the benefits of blue mind.
2. Create a calming water-inspired space. Try putting up some artwork that reminds you of the ocean, or even just add some blues and greens into your decor.
3. Starting a bath/shower ritual. Focusing on the sounds of water and sensation on your skin can turn your regular shower into a mini blue mind experience for you.
4. Listen to calming water sounds – we still use white noise for our kids bedtime, which is basically just a rain and waterfalls track on repeat!
5. Plan a walk in nature (even with your kids!) with as much greenery surrounding you as possible! – don’t put your ear phones in, just take in your surroundings with all of your senses
6. If you work from home, plan to take your breaks outside. Don’t underestimate the benefit of just getting your bare feet onto some grass!
7. Embrace the indoor plant trend, or set up a mini herb garden. You can even get the kids involved with caring for the plants so they can benefit too!
8. Plan a family picnic in the park! Spend some quality family time outside with some yummy snacks, a blanket, and some outdoor games or toys for the kids.
It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complicated, just start by choosing one or two simple ways to reconnect with nature and see how your body and mind respond.