After watching The Birds horror film, it took me a lonnnngggg time to trust being around birds. I kept a wary eye on birds perched on power lines and roofs, fearing they’d suddenly swoop down and attack. Thankfully I’m over that and totally enjoy watching them. And their chirps and calls make me happy.
Did you know that watching birds can reduce depression, anxiety and stress?
Check out this new research:
Doses of Neighborhood Nature: The Benefits for Mental Health of Living with Nature
Experiences of nature provide many mental-health benefits, particularly for people living in urban areas. The natural characteristics of city residents’ neighborhoods are likely to be crucial determinants of the daily nature dose that they receive; however, which characteristics are important remains unclear. One possibility is that the greatest benefits are provided by characteristics that are most visible during the day and so most likely to be experienced by people. We demonstrate that of five neighborhood nature characteristics tested, vegetation cover and afternoon bird abundances were positively associated with a lower prevalence of depression, anxiety, and stress. Furthermore, dose–response modeling shows a threshold response at which the population prevalence of mental-health issues is significantly lower beyond minimum limits of neighborhood vegetation cover (depression more than 20% cover, anxiety more than 30% cover, stress more than 20% cover). Our findings demonstrate quantifiable associations of mental health with the characteristics of nearby nature that people actually experience.