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    Birds will improve your mood

    Studies prove the beneficial effects of bird watching and bird-related activities on improving your mood and relieving anxiety. If you are having a worse day, why not go out for a walk and look for birds? 

    More and more studies are being published on the positive effects of nature on mental recovery and well-being, which in turn are associated with life satisfaction.

    Seeing and hearing birds improve mood for up to eight hours

    According to British scientists, the sight of birds and the sounds they make improve mood for up to eight hours, reports the journal Scientific Reports.

    This is argued by researchers at King’s College London, who used a smartphone app to collect real-time reports on the mental well-being of test subjects along with reports of seeing birds or hearing them sing.

    “In the present study, we used the Urban Mind smartphone application to examine the impact of seeing or hearing birds on self-reported mental well-being in real-life contexts,”

    said study lead author Ryan Hammoud.

    The study took place between April 2018 and October 2021. There were 1,292 participants reporting 26,856 mood assessments using the Urban Mind app. King’s College London, landscape architects J&L Gibbons and art foundation Nomad Projects developed the app. Participants were recruited worldwide, with the majority located in the UK, the European Union, and the US.

    The app asked participants three times a day if they saw or heard birds. Then it asked questions about psychological well-being. It allowed researchers to establish a link between the two and estimate the duration of that link.

    Birdwatching can boost mental well-being

    The study also collected information on existing mental health diagnoses and found that hearing or seeing birds was associated with improved mental well-being in both healthy and depressed individuals. The researchers showed that the links between birds and mental well-being could not be explained by co-occurring environmental factors such as the presence of trees, plants, or watercourses.

    One does not have to be an expert in nature to benefit psychologically from contact with nature. A certain level of knowledge and involvement is enough.

    “Birdwatchers don’t need to have a lot of knowledge, but birdwatching must be important to them. This, in turn, suggests that even birdwatching beginners with little experience can derive health benefits from leisure activities,”

    psychiatrist Dr Slawomir Murawiec, author of a book on therapeutic ornithology, argues.

    Birdwatching after pandemic 

    According to him, especially now, after the pandemic, when more and more people require psychological help, there is a need to develop additional methods to support mental health.

    “One of the new directions in world psychiatry is to develop interventions based on contact with nature. Of course, we treat with drugs, psychotherapy, and a combination of these methods, but contact with nature can be a supportive method,”

    the specialist believes.

    The journal Ecopsychology published an article. Dr Murawiec is a co-author together with Prof. Christoph Randler (Eberhard Karls University in Tuebingen) and Prof. Piotr Tryjanowski. The article is about the effect of birdwatching on subjective feelings of psychological regeneration/”restoration.” 

    Prof. Murawiec also points out that listening to birds exercises cognitive functions and memory in the process.

    In the forest, people can de-stress

    Research has demonstrated that when we are in a natural environment, we are able to recuperate and de-stress more easily. This is because cities have a lot of external stimulation, which can cause the brain to become overwhelmed. Conversely, being in a forest allows the mind to have some breathing room and can improve cognitive functions.

    In the West, it has become fashionable to recommend so-called “forest baths” to patients. Shinrin-yoku originated in Japan and is slowly becoming a recognized method for combating stress, depression, or insomnia. Birdwatching is an enrichment to this method and derives additional benefits.

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