It’s no secret that water positively impacts a person’s health. Even thinking about blue spaces can make one feel more relaxed and at peace. But why is it that it has such an impact on people’s lives? New studies reveal the answer may be locked in our childhoods. University of Exeter’s researchers discovered an unexpected connection between improved mental health and spending more time near water sources.
More About the Study
The study in question was published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. It was conducted across 18 regions and countries, 14 European countries, and four non-European regions.
Participants had to recall their childhood memories up to 16 years of age. Researchers specifically wanted to know whether participants have lived near water. Think of anything from ponds to oceans. Interviewers also inquired how often individuals would spend time near these “blue” spaces.
What Researchers Have Concluded
The result truly impressed researchers. People who used to spend more time near water as children valued these areas more than those who didn’t. Another result was that those who valued blue spaces more would spend more time near them as adults. Most surprisingly, however, was that those who spend more time near lakes, ponds, or by the sea have better mental health.
Naturally, the study had some limitations. For one thing, researchers had no control over the lives of respondents. In other words, there could have been events that could have impacted the interviewees’ lives. Another thing to consider is that those who spend more time near blue spaces may have been more well-off than others. An affluent lifestyle is typically healthier, too, which is known to add to better mental health.
More Proof That Water Impacts People
The study isn’t the first one of its kind. Previous studies on the matter have also backed up the theory that surrounding oneself with water can add to improved mental health. A study conducted back in 2013 collected data on 20,000 interviewees using a smartphone app. It would pop questions at random times, where brief answers were sufficient. Based on them, each participant’s mental health was assessed concerning the environment in which they were living. The result was about the same as the one described above. Namely, those who spent more time in natural surroundings were much happier than those surrounded by an urban landscape.
Another fascinating study posted in the Journal of Environmental Psychology back in 2010 found that individuals liked to see blue spaces in photographs. It included asking participants to list favorites among 120 photos. Most individuals preferred pictures of water.
When Sex and the City’s reboot, And Just Like That…, aired on HBO Max last December, fans of the iconic show were quick to watch the fresh batch of ten episodes that promised to give us answers and show us what happened to our favorite quartet. Well, more like the trio — given that Kim Cattrall, who played Samantha, refused to return for the revival. It wasn’t long before criticism came along, and it was Cynthia Nixon’s character, Miranda, that took the greatest hit.
Miranda’s Storyline Shocked Some Fans
For a long time, the outspoken, cynical, and career-driven Miranda Hobbes gave hopes to women around the world that balancing a career and a family is possible, albeit not in the most glamorous of ways. The revival, however, showed a slightly more different Miranda, one that has a new love interest — a nonbinary podcast host and comedian Che Diaz (played by Sara Ramirez).
When asked about her thoughts on the criticism her character received, Cynthia Nixon (who is part of the queer community herself) was pretty straightforward — “I think that’s a bizarre reaction.”
Cynthia Nixon Defends Miranda’s Choices
Although the actress has previously stated that she was hesitant about joining the cast of And Just Like That… at first, once she committed, she was fully on board with everything that the creators of the show had in store for her character. Of course, she wholeheartedly supported this storyline that shows Miranda’s romantic struggles between Steve and Che. She even compared it to Carrie’s love triangle with Mr. Big and Aidan.
Originally, Che wasn’t part of the picture, but Nixon and director Michael Patrick King decided to make this bold choice — by showing Miranda rediscovering herself.
Miranda is brave and opinionated, says Nixon, and it made sense to show women and their struggles in an authentic and meaningful way. No one wants to watch propaganda where female characters are only one-sided. Cynthia Nixon certainly doesn’t want to watch that!