What if someone told you a water feature in your home could reduce your stress and increase your overall well-being? You’d probably think, “Sign me up!” Well, according to research, there are psychological benefits to having a water feature or water garden. The sound of running water and exposure to water can greatly improve your psychological and even physical health.
People get bogged down with stress from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Over the years, evolution has drawn people farther away from nature and the result is highly populated cities with most land covered by buildings, leaving very little green and blue to be found. This lack of nature adds to the mental and physical stress of people’s lives. Many studies have been done to prove that exposure to nature can induce positive thoughts, pleasure, aesthetic joy, promotion of spirituality, and psychological restoration. Water is among the top features of nature tested in these studies to promote good mental health.
Having a pond, fountain, stream, or waterfall not only adds to the ambiance of your home and yard, it provides the psychological benefits of water. Being by water can promote calmness, focus, creativity, better sleep quality, and something called the blue-mind, coined by Wallace J. Nichols. The effect of the blue-mind according to Nichols is described as “the calm, peacefulness, unity, and sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment” when a person is in or near water. Even if you are not near natural water, Nichols suggests being mindful of small bodies of water like fountains, ponds, pools, and streams to gain the benefits of the blue-mind. These water features can trigger the brain to experience empathy, positive emotion, and self-awareness- the building blocks that make up happiness.
Why does water have this powerful effect? One reason is that water has an effect on the brain to the likes of meditation. In water, catecholamine neurotransmitters, the neurochemicals that relay stress to the brain, are recalibrated to give you a Zen-like calm feeling, ultimately reducing stress and anxiety. Even in represented forms, like waterfalls, fountains, and ponds the sound of running water has been shown to be effective in the reduction of the stress hormones epinephrine and cortisol, which are associated with many health ailments when levels are high. A reduction in these hormones will also help to reduce anxiety. Also, water, in all forms, releases negatively charged ions into the air, which combats free radicals and purifies the air. These negative ions are also believed to boost serotonin levels which relieve stress and depression and in turn increase energy, alertness, and concentration.
Ponds, waterfalls, and fountains are the perfect way to achieve all these positive attributes. The waterfalls and fountains are engineered not only to mimic nature, but to suggest nature with their rustic yet serene decorative aesthetic. Affordable and easy to maintain, these water features are your stepping stone to a happy and healthy life.