The rushing blue water plummeting over rocky outcrops, the thunderous yet soothing sounds, the awe-inspiring wonders of nature-it is no wonder people seek out waterfalls. However, recent studies are now proving that simply being near a waterfall not only makes you feel happier but also increases energy and productivity.
It goes without saying that any exposure to nature, whether it be hiking in the mountains or swimming in a lake, drastically improves your physical well being, mental health, and overall happiness. But the nature of waterfalls involves a collision of water molecules which causes the water to be positively charged and the surrounding air to be negatively charged. According to Pierce Howard, Ph.D., author of The Owner’s Manual for the Brain: Everyday Applications from Mind-Brain Research, “negative ions hitting our bloodstream can produce biochemical reactions linked to alleviating depression, relieving stress, and boosting energy.”
Howard goes on to explain that high concentrations of negative ions are crucial for high energy and positive mood. Behaving in the same way that sunlight suppresses melatonin, negative ions suppress serotonin levels. Both positive and negative ions exist in the atmosphere in which we exist and breathe our air. The most beneficial ratio of ions exists near waterfalls and before and after storms, whereas the worst ratio is found in enclosed spaces.
This proven fact only further supports the concrete evidence that people who spend time in nature are generally happier and healthier than those who don’t. A recent study from the journal Environmental Science & Technology linked exposure to nature directly with improved mental health. Looking at the mental health of those who moved from cities to more open, greener landscapes versus the other way around, the individuals who relocated to a more natural setting were noticeably happier during the three-year study period.
If you are left needing more reasons to get outside, go for a walk, and enjoy your natural surroundings, look no further. The proof is in the pudding. Do yourself a favor and emerge yourself into nature, you’ll be happy you did!