Imagine the peaceful sound of a river’s waters rushing down a hill. The birds are chirping all around the sky. Deer and other forest creatures rustle around the fallen leaves of the nearby forest. Turtles and otters cozy up to the river’s edge.
These are some of the things you may experience if you choose to settle down near a river (or even a lake or stream).
I was always jealous of kids who got to live by a lake or the river. I thought it was so cool that you could hangout by the water whenever you wanted.
If I wanted to go see the river (like the Cuyahoga) I had to go to a nearby park in the area.
I guess I was, and still am, jealous because being by the water is so peaceful and calming to me.
The sounds it has and the beauty of its movement has been something that has drawn me in since I was young.
Going to the beach for the first time when I was young was practically life-changing. I never wanted to go back home to my boring, grassy backyard.
Thinking about all this, I decided to research if there were any proven benefits, whether mental or physical, of living by a body of water.
I stumbled upon a Vice article that mentioned a book called “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do,” by scientist, Wallace J. Nichols.
In the book he describes how being by water can be great for our mental health. Nichols said that our brains switch gears and create a “soft fascination” in our brains, which can be beneficial to us.
The Vice article also mentioned several other studies, including a 2016 New Zealand one that found that living close to a body of water can help with our psychological stresses.
A Global News article by Erica Alini also mentioned that Michael Depledge, a chair of Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter Medical School, found that living near water can encourage more “physical activity” and can help lower our heart rates.
After talking to Rachel Scotton, a college student who grew up on the Cuyahoga river in Mantua, OH, I really understood why it was so beneficial to live near water.
Scotton told me that she would spend some of her down time by the river (which down a hill in her backyard) exploring the animals and plants that resided there.
She thinks this was a contributing factor to her passion of animals of environmentalism.
Scotton also mentioned that she likes coming home and sitting by the river when life gets stressful.
I think it’s safe to say that living near water can be great for you, as long as you can avoid the flooding that can happen if you don’t live on a hill like Scotton.