According to a new study from King's College London, all it takes is a few seconds of...listening to birds?
The study, published in Scientific Reports, found that hearing or seeing birdlife is linked to improved mental wellbeing that can last up to eight hours.
The researchers used the Urban Mind smartphone app to collect real-time reports of mental well-being from participants alongside reports of seeing or hearing birdsong. The study took place between April 2018 and October 2021 and included 1,292 participants from around the world, with the majority being based in the UK, EU, and US.
The app asked participants three times a day whether they could see or hear birds, followed by questions on mental wellbeing. This enabled researchers to establish a link between birds and mental wellbeing and to estimate how long this link lasted. The study found that encounters with birdlife were associated with long-lasting improvements in mental wellbeing for both healthy individuals and those with depression*.
If you can't physically go to a park or natural area, try bringing a bit of nature into your home by setting up a bird feeder or maybe listening to bird sounds online.
As I delved into the details of this fascinating study, I couldn't resist the urge to search for a birdsong video on YouTube. To my surprise, I found that listening to the chirping of these avian wonders on a screen just didn't have the same soothing effect as hearing them in their natural habitat. In fact, it was almost unsettling.
Maybe it's just a personal preference, but I'll stick to enjoying them in the great outdoors from now on.
*Disclaimer: This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy. I am not a Mental Health Provider. Please consult with a qualified Mental Health Provider if you have any questions or concerns that relate to your own life situation.