A new study shows that the ability to see or hear birds is associated with improved mental health that can last up to eight hours.
The researchers recruited 1,292 people from all over the world for their study, mostly from the UK.
They used a smartphone app called Urban Mind to collect real-time mental health data as well as reports of seeing or hearing birdsong.
The app asked participants three times a day if they could see or hear the birds, and then asked mental health questions to see if there was a connection between the two and how long it lasted.
The study also collected information on current diagnoses of mental illness.
The analysis found that hearing or birdwatching was associated with improved mental health in both healthy and depressed people.
Researchers have shown that the link between birds and mental well-being is not explained by other environmental factors, such as the presence of trees, plants, or waterways.
Lead author Ryan Hammoud of King’s College London said: “There is growing evidence of the mental health benefits of being in nature, and we intuitively believe that the presence of birds will help lift our spirits.” However, there are few studies that have actually examined the effects of birds on mental health in real time and in real environments. With the Urban Mind app, for the first time, we have shown a direct link between seeing or hearing birds and a positive mood.
Lead author Andrea Micheli said: “Our study provides an evidence base for the creation and maintenance of biologically diverse spaces in which birds live, as it is strongly associated with our mental health. In addition, the results support the implementation of measures to increase people’s chances of learning about the life of birds, especially for people with mental illnesses such as depression.”
“To our knowledge, this is the first study that examines the effects of daily bird encounters on mental health in real time and in real life contexts,” the researchers wrote in Scientific Reports.
Source: Daily Mail
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