Bird Watching Near Home Improves Mental Health, New Study Finds

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Mental Health News: New study found that being able to see more birds, shrubs and trees lowers depression, anxiety and stress, irrespective of living in urban or more leafy suburban neighborhoods.

Academics at the University of Exeter surveyed mental health in over 270 people from different ethnicities, income and ages. As per results people who spent more time outdoors than usual in the previous week are less likely to report anxiety or depression.

The study also conducted extensive surveys on the number of birds in Milton Keynes, Bedford and Luton at different times of day. Seeing more birds in the afternoon was associated with the lower levels of depression, stress and anxiety.

Academics observed that the number of afternoon birds was lower than the number of morning birds. The team studied afternoon birds because they are more in numbers plus people are highly likely to see them in their neighborhood, in the garden or from the window every day. The study also found that people were interested to see birds and not particular species of birds.

University of Exeter research fellow Dr Daniel Cox, who led the study, said: “This study starts to unpick the role that some key components of nature play for our mental well-being.”

The team found positive association even after controlling for wide range of socio-demographic factors. The research findings emphasis on the importance of spending time with nature watching trees, birds and shrubs in preventative health care.

To Know More You May Refer To:

Cox, D. T., Shanahan, D. F., Hudson, H. L., Plummer, K. E., Siriwardena, G. M., Fuller, R. A., Anderson, K., Hancock, S., & Gaston, K. J. (2017). Doses of neighborhood nature: The benefits for mental health of living with nature. BioScience, biw173.

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