Is there a link between waterfalls and better mental health

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kitesandtrainsandcats
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22 May 2022, 5:24 pm

Opinion: Is there a legitimate link between waterfalls and better mental health?
Kevin Adams
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Published 5:01 a.m. ET May 22, 2022
https://www.citizen-times.com/story/opi ... 825759002/
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OPINION
Opinion: Is there a legitimate link between waterfalls and better mental health?
Kevin Adams
GUEST COLUMNIST
Kevin Adams says there is compelling evidence that waterfalls can be therapeutic for a variety of mental health challenges.

There are more than 1,000 waterfalls in North Carolina and besides being a stunning part of the landscape of the state, there is compelling evidence that they can be therapeutic for a variety of mental health challenges. May is not only the perfect time of year to visit waterfalls and experience many of their healing properties but also an excellent time to take a moment and reflect on Mental Health Awareness month and activities to aid mental health that perhaps are a little more out of the box - or off the grid - than usual.

What is it about waterfalls that draws us to them? Trees, animals, scenic landscapes, and all sorts of other things in nature appeal to us, but few things affect us the way waterfalls do. Looking at photos of waterfalls doesn’t give that same feeling though. The experience of seeing a waterfall is something unique and some would say, addictive.

Some suggest this draw is due to the negative ions produced by waterfalls, which are believed to increase serotonin, the hormone that generates feelings of well-being. While scientific studies are scarce on this theory, there are studies, like a 2013 one in the Environmental Science and Technology journal, that tie exposure to nature with better mental well-being.

While an increase in serotonin may be partly responsible for a better mood at waterfalls, there are other aspects of standing in front of a waterfall that are possible reasons for improved mental health.

Waterfalls are an extraordinary sensory experience. We see the beauty with our eyes, feel the spray on our skin, hear the roar with our ears, smell the plants and flowers, and taste the air with tiny droplets of water from the falls. Engaging all the senses can, at the least, take the mind off more intense thoughts and help to release it, even for a few moments, of depression and anxiety. Indeed, there are several studies that indicate just being in nature and outdoors helps to lower blood pressure, decrease anxiety and stress, and promote a healthier lifestyle. Studies conducted at other “blue spaces” like the beach and lakes indicate similar mental health benefits like an increase in mindfulness, lower stress, better mental clarity, and overall calmness.
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Mountain Goat
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22 May 2022, 5:29 pm

I find they give me a relaxing calming effect.

It depends on the situation. If one was viewing the waterfall from a safe distance then they do have a good mental effect, but if one is actually in the water and going down the waterfall, sheer terror springs to mind so it would most likely give a negative mental effect!



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22 May 2022, 5:40 pm

I don't know but I wish I lived next to a waterfall!


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ThisTimelessMoment
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23 May 2022, 12:23 pm

I love waterfalls!
Nature in general is THE place to go to get sane again but waterfalls are special.

I remember one particular instance after a hike with some friends in the mountains. It had rained a lot recently. It's not a very high waterfall. Maybe 10 meters. Swimming naked in the pool below it and standing leaning into the rock face directly under the flow. The amazing rush of water washing away all thought or worry. Just spectacular! A very special day I will remember forever.


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Mountain Goat
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23 May 2022, 12:33 pm

There is one waterfall near here that the locals love as one can stand in it if one wants.



Fnord
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23 May 2022, 2:35 pm

Any alleged "link" between waterfalls and mental health can be discounted because:

• Kevin Adams is founder and director of Waterfall Keepers of North Carolina.

• He is also the author of "North Carolina Waterfalls".

• The article is a self-serving opinion, with no scientific basis in fact.

:roll: Can you say, "Conflict of interest"?  I am sure you can!



Raleigh
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23 May 2022, 3:16 pm

I know there is a link between waterfalls and me wanting to use the bathroom.

But yeah, other than that, waterfalls are usually relaxing, unless they're the huge, thundering kind.


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temp1234
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23 May 2022, 3:40 pm

I think any natural environment can have relaxing effects on people, such as a lake, small stream, and a forest. It doesn't have to be a waterfall.

I personally find waterfalls rather annoying because they can be noisy. Waterfalls are also rather scary because they can kill people.