The Link Between Mental Health and Ponds

Mental health has become a popular topic of discussion, as it is an important factor to living a successful well-balanced life. The stress of the everyday grind including work, family, finances, physical and mental-health issues, on top of all the unpredictable events that happen can have a direct effect on your body and mind. Finding ways to incorporate self-care will help to decrease the stress and its impact. One form of self-care is being by water and if you don’t live by a beach, lake, or river then having a pond is the next best thing. There is a positive correlation between mental health and ponds and listed below are some of the mental health benefits of creating and owning a pond.

Being around water gives our brains and our senses a rest from overstimulation. Having a pond can offer that rest just by sitting and relaxing by it. Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, believes that we all have a “blue mind” and maintains, “that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what’s broken.”

Meditation, yoga, and taking alone time to try and think positive thoughts outdoors can help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. Positive thinking is using self-talk to reframe negative thoughts or situations in a more optimistic manner. The Mayo Clinic states that, “positive thinking just means that you approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.” There are health benefits to positive thinking and the Mayo Clinic believes, “that having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body.” Practicing positive thinking, meditation, and yoga next to a pond with a waterfall can bring a greater sense of calm and peacefulness with the sound of trickling water.

Water is not the only advantage to having a pond. The whole process of creating a pond has benefits. The early planning stages gets the mind focused on a goal to work towards. Setting goals is a helpful way to boost motivation and enable people to make the changes they desire. According to experts at MindHealthConnect, “It can be used to improve health and relationships, or improve productivity at work. Setting goals can also be an important step in the recovery from mental illness. Common disorders like depression or anxiety can make it hard to function at work or home, or relate to others. Setting goals can be used as part of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) to start the process of getting well and rebuilding a meaningful life.” Setting goals for your pond can model how to set goals in other areas of your life. The goal for your water garden may be to create a Zen-like space just for you or to create a wildlife refuge. Either way you are working towards something that is important to you and/or your family. The next step is planning where the pond will be and what supplies you need. Doing this will help with organizational skills and learning how to research and make To Do lists. For families with children, this is a good learning experience to acquire these skills along with learning about responsibility. Accountability is a huge aspect of good mental health and learning at a young age can foster a positive sense of self. Then there is the actual process of creating the pond. This requires physical activity and being in the outdoors. Being active is directly linked to mental health. Psychiatrists and the staff at HelpGuide.org state that physical activity is, “one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood…Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a difference.” This is the perfect way to get the whole family involved or do something alone that is active and outdoors. Being in the sun is also proven to boost mood states. “Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. This is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused,” according to mental health professionals at Healthline.com. The final product will give a sense of productivity and accomplishment, which is key to feeling whole and valued. This can be used as a great example of your ability to achieve goals in the future if you are feeling down or unsure about a challenge or new goal. And the best part is you have added a beautiful safe space to your home you can enjoy whenever you want!

Positive Thinking Day is September 13th and what better way to honor this than by sitting by your pond and acknowledging the positive things that happened today and/or things you are grateful for. It can change your day and even your outlook on life!