There is something about being around birds that just makes most people smile. They might wake us up in the morning or at times, we may just be entertained as they go about their business of trying to stay fed and active.
According to a recent study, there may be more to our emotional health when it comes to birds than we realized. We do know that seeing birds helps our mental health by providing us with something interesting to watch but it seems as if that mental boost may last longer than expected.
The researchers used Urban Mind, a phone app, to look into these factors. What they found was that the emotional boost associated with seeing or hearing birds could last up to eight hours. How did they determine this?
People who were using the phone app had to check in three times every day. There would be asked the question if they could hear or see birds. They then had to answer questions about how they felt.
According to Science Daily, the lead author of the study from King’s College London, Ryan Hammound, said: “There is growing evidence on the mental health benefits of being around nature and we intuitively think that the presence of birdsong and birds would help lift our mood.”
He went on to say that there is not much research associated with how birds impact our mental health in real time. After using the Urban Mind app, they were able to show a link between seeing and hearing birds and having a positive outlook.
Over 1200 people from the UK, the US, and the EU were involved in the three-year study. Some 26,800 assessments were taken by the app.
They looked into a variety of mental health conditions during that time, including depression. They consistently found that seeing or hearing birds improved how people felt, regardless of whether they suffered from depression or not.
Interestingly, you didn’t have to be in a special calming place in order to experience this boost in mental health.
Prof. Andrea Mechelli, also of Kings College London, said: “The term ecosystem services is often used to describe the benefits of certain aspects of the natural environment on our physical and mental health. However, it can be difficult to prove these benefits scientifically.”
He went on to speak about how the study provides a base for creating biodiverse spaces with birdlife since it has such an impact on our mental health. It may even have more benefits for those who suffer from depression.Whizzco