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Cultivating Happiness & The Power of Blue Spaces

Cultivating Happiness & The Power of Blue Spaces

Apr 2, 2024 | Holistic Health, Research Findings

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that I may earn a small commission from, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I use or have used myself. All opinions expressed here are my own.

The Surprising Benefits of Blue Spaces

I’ve written extensively about the health advantages of nature RX — in short, spending time in the natural world is just plain good for you. It can be something as simple as enjoying an urban green space or backyard garden, even listening to birdsong. Of course, hiking or camping in the wilderness has its perks too.

However, researchers believe blue spaces — waterfalls, rivers, lakes, streams, canals, water fountains, and the sea — may be even more beneficial than their green counterparts in lowering the risk of anxiety, stress, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression, and premature death. This may not come as a surprise to those of you who have intuitively suspected blue spaces are healing. Here’s what the science has to say about it.

waterfalls and pools

Finding Your Happy Place

A 2013 study in the UK set out to determine if natural spaces really are good for us in tangible ways.1 Using an app cleverly named Mappiness specifically developed for the project, participants responded to random prompts about their current feelings. The researchers collected over a million responses and GPS locations from 20,000 people and adjusted their findings to account for the weather, daylight, activity, companionship, location type, time, and day. Overwhelmingly, people reported being the happiest when they were in a blue space.

Niamh Smith, a researcher at GCU and co-author of the study says they found improvements in both mental and physical health when participants spent time in blue spaces. But that’s not all. Being near a body of water reduced body mass index (BMI) and lowered the risk of mortality as well.

“We know there are four main ways that blue spaces benefit health – through physical activity, stress reduction, providing a space for socialisation [and finally the] environmental factors that have an impact on our health. For example, if a river is tree-lined, you have shade.”2

Likewise, a systematic review published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health also established blue spaces reduced the risk of stress, anxiety, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and premature death, leading the researchers to conclude, “[b]lue spaces may offer part of a solution to public health concerns faced by growing global urban populations.”3

Dr. Lewis Elliott and Dr. Mathew White of the University of Exeter, UK and BlueHealth, an organization researching the health benefits of blue spaces in 18 countries, note those who visit a coastal area at least two times per week experience better overall mental and physical health. White says there are three reasons why the presence of water is beneficial. First, aquatic environments are less polluted and oftentimes have more sunlight. Next, people generally are more physically active when they live by water — whether it is through water sports, walking, or cycling. Lastly, blue spaces have a more pronounced restorative effect in boosting your mood and reducing stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts, compared to green spaces.

Nicoles Apothecary Anxiety & Stress Tincture in a bed of chamomile

Supporting a Bright Outlook, Naturally

If you find yourself struggling with ongoing stress, anxiety, or negative thinking, herbal remedies are an outstanding option for calming the nervous system, brightening your mood, reducing cortisol, and supporting resiliency. My favorite botanicals for these purposes include:


  • Adaptogenic
  • Calms inflammation
  • Soothes anxiety and depression
  • Balances hormones
  • Quiets the stress response


  • Anxiolytic (soothes anxiety) and helps calm the body and mind
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Eases PMS symptoms
  • Relieves insomnia


  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Boosts cognitive function
  • Lessens insomnia, anxiety, and depression
  • Improves energy by improving blood oxygen levels, reducing muscle fatigue, and lowering lactic acid accumulation.


  • Reduces inflammation
  • Neuroprotective
  • Fosters quality sleep, alleviates adrenal fatigue, and encourages healthy immune function.
  • Strengthens the body against the negative effects of stress, including: hormonal imbalances, high cortisol, fatigue, and low energy.

“I have had the most unexpected experience using your tinctures. I bought the [Anxiety & Stress Blend] and Lemon Balm to help rebalance the GABA levels and to help support exhausted adrenals. What I never imagined was that my Very VERY SEVERE restless legs syndrome would be nearly 100 percent resolved. I have no words to describe how bad it was. … I’m about eight days into taking the tinctures and it’s like a miracle! So delighted and would love to share this great news with other sufferers out there.” Debi P.

Each of the above herbs is found in our potent Anxiety & Stress Blend, which helps the body adapt to stress, calms the nervous system, and relieves anxiety, depression, and stress-related insomnia. It also improves cognitive function and lowers inflammation for optimal brain health. It can be used up to 3x daily, including at night if anxious thoughts are keeping you awake. If you need a blend purely for sleep, see our Sleep Blend Tincture.

Are you ready to soothe stress and anxiety, while also encouraging a happy outlook? Visit the apothecary today to learn more about this blend as well as our full-range of life-changing herbal formulations..

Nicole Apelian

Nicole’s Apothecary Products in this Post

Nicoles Apothecary - Anxiety and Stress Tincture

Anxiety & Stress Tincture

Nicole's Apothecary Lemon Balm Tincture

Lemon Balm Tincture

Nicole's Apothecary Sleep Blend Tincture

Sleep Blend Tincture

  1. MacKerron, George and Mourato, Susana (2013) Happiness is greater in natural environments. Global environmental change. ISSN 0959-3780, DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2013.03.010
    “The surprising benefits of blue spaces” Frankie Adkins and Katherine Latham, BBC, November 8, 2022. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20221108-the-doctors-prescribing-blue-therapy
  2. Georgiou, M., Morison, G., Smith, N., Tieges, Z., & Chastin, S. (2021). Mechanisms of Impact of Blue Spaces on Human Health: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(5), 2486. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052486

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