Birdwatching Can Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

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A new study has found that residents of suburban areas are less likely to suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression, and feel more relaxed, simply due to the fact that they have more birds, trees, and shrubs in their neighbourhood.

This collaborative study lead by the University of Exter, the University of Queensland, and the British Trust for Ornithology, involved almost 300 participants of different ages, ethnicities, and incomes, who lived in both urban and suburban areas.

After controlling for a wide range of socio-demographic factors such as neighbourhood deprivation, results showed mental health benefits of being able to view nature around the home, and participants showed mental health improvements if they spent more time outdoors viewing this nature.

More interestingly, the researchers found that over several cities, levels of stress, anxiety, and depression decreased particularly with the number of viewable birds through windows, in the resident’s gardens, or in the resident’s neighbourhoods.

Dr. Daniel Cox, lead researcher of the study said,

“This study starts to unpick the role that some key components of nature play for our mental well-being.”

The authors further suggested that having nature around the home, or an abundance of neighbourhood green spaces, are vital in making cities both healthier and happier places to live in.

 

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