Can Bird Watching Really Boost Your Mental Health?
This all started with a 2017 study from the University of Exeter in Great Britain. Their study looked at various natural factors that seemed to help boost mental health and fight stress & depression, and according to the study there seemed to be a clear correlation that individuals who lived in neighborhoods with more birds, shrubs, and trees were happier and less stressed than those who did not.
Further parts of the study tried to get more details on how each factor to see how it affected overall feelings of happiness and the number of birds viewed in a day really seemed to make a difference, especially the number watched or viewed by the early afternoon.
So what does this mean for those looking to de-stress or take advantage of these findings?
So Does Bird Watching Really Boost Mental Health?
The studies seem to indicate that this does make a difference. Most types of birds have beautiful chirps and it can be interesting to hear multiple calls or bird songs. On the other side of things, there is the occasional super sharp or super shrill bird call which can be less helpful – especially if it is interfering with sleep at 4 a.m.
However, there are a lot of things to like about bird watching. This indicates spending some time in nature whether it’s out in the wild or even just a simple park, or in some cases a backyard with plenty of avian visitors. Taking the time to be surrounded by green and the sounds of nature is never a bad thing especially when it comes to self-care and mental health.
The study takes into account the fact that nature and green spaces have known benefits and actually spending time spotting birds and watching birds actually does increase the positive benefits that result.
A Good Activity Regardless
While there are arguments to be made that being in nature and in the woods has long been known to have strong mental health benefits, there’s little denying that spotting multiple birds tends to boost this happiness factor. While it’s impossible to tell the exact “amount” of benefit in some measurable way, the combination of different things that go into a day of bird watching are all solid for mental health.
There’s disconnecting from screens, the surrounding of oneself by green space or natural beauty that not only engages the eyes but also senses like sound (bird songs) and smell, then there’s the concentration that takes place from focusing in and concentrating on watching birds, looking for the more colorful birds out of groups, and that practice of focusing in and not multi-tasking can be a massive stress reliever in today’s modern attention crazed society.
In addition to that, for many people consciously bird walking means at least a little bit of a walk, and even small amounts of moderate exercise can make a major difference when it comes to overall health. That being said if you’re looking for a new hobby, bird watching comes with the benefit of more outdoors time in addition to all the mental health benefits that at this point are undeniable.
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