Hundreds of studies have found the same thing: blue spaces are even better than green spaces. Image Credit: Pexels/Tiana

Ever wonder why people opt for ‘sea view’ rooms in hotels, or look for beach-front property when travelling or investing in real estate?

Click start to play today’s Spell It, where we learn how humans naturally prefer escaping the ‘grind’ by heading for water.

Hundreds of studies have found the same thing: blue spaces are even better than green spaces. Just looking at water helps calm the body down, by decreasing our heart rate and blood pressure, and increasing feel-good hormones, like serotonin and endorphins.

An October 2013 study, published in the journal Global Environmental Change, was one of the largest to examine this phenomenon. Researchers collected data from over 20,000 people in the UK; they tracked participants’ location via a smartphone app, and asked them to report their overall sense of wellbeing at different points in the day. Then, they assessed what kind of natural environments people were in, during those moments.

The result? People were generally happier in any type of natural environment – whether coastal, green, mountainous or other – than in an urban environment. But the happiest of them all were those who were in marine and coastal locations.

But why do blue spaces impact us so deeply?

One explanation, according to Catherine Kelly, author of Blue Spaces: How and Why Water Can Make You Feel Better, may be that looking at a vast, seemingly endless, body of water puts our own problems in proper perspective. It humbles us, makes us realise our issues may not be so big and unsolvable after all, and helps us let go of associated stress.

We don’t even have to face the ocean to feel this way. According to a May 2016 study in the journal Health & Place, just looking at water in an urban environment can improve our mental well-being and mood.

Moreover, people who are more exposed to blue spaces in their childhood years, are likely to seek it out as adults, according to a December 2022 study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. They also report better mental health during adulthood, because childhood exposure helped them consistently spend more time in such spaces in later years of their lives, leading to better overall mental well-being.

Do you find peace of mind when you’re near blue spaces? Play today’s Spell It and tell us at