Bird watching for mental health

A new study has found that living in an area with lots of birds, shrubs and trees can have a positive effect on your mental health.

The collaborative project between the University of Exeter, the BTO and the University of Queensland surveyed nearly 300 people to investigate which components of nature are linked to positive mental-health outcomes.

Researchers assessed the impacts of vegetation cover and bird abundance on levels of depression, anxiety of stress. They found that people living in neighbourhoods with higher levels of vegetation cover and afternoon bird abundance, had reduced severity of depression, anxiety, and stress. Furthermore, the study found that those people that spent less time outdoors were also susceptible to feeling more anxious and depressed.

The positive effects of nature on well-being have long been documented. A review for the Wildlife Trusts carried out by the University of Essex in 2015 found significant improvements to well-being as a result of contact with nature.

For those of us that live in urban areas, the majority have access to a park or garden, and this research shows that getting outside and enjoying what nature has to offer is a cheap, easy, and surprisingly effective way of improving your health.

With spring just around the corner, now is a fantastic time to experience the UK’s bird life and the wonder of the dawn chorus. Why not visit SongBird Survival’s dawn chorus page for a taste of what’s in store? Once you’ve heard the magic of birds welcoming a new day with their song, we’re sure you’ll want to get out there, enjoy it and feel better!

The full research paper can be read here.

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