(ORDO NEWS) — A new study by British experts has shown that the ability to see or hear birdsong has a positive effect on a person’s mental well-being. Interestingly, the effect will not be short.
Published in Scientific Reports, British scientists used the Urban Mind smartphone app to collect real-time reports from people about their mental well-being and information about whether a person was affected by the presence of birds.
Study lead author Ryan Hammoud, a research fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neurology (IoPPN), said, “There is increasing evidence of the benefits of being in nature, and we intuitively think that birdsong and birds [in general] are good for humans.”
“There are few studies that have actually examined the effects of birds on mental health in real time and in real environments. Using the Urban Mind app, we have shown for the first time a direct link between bird singing and [human] positive mood.
We hope this data will demonstrate the importance of protecting and creating conditions to encourage birds not only for biodiversity but also for the benefit of people’s state of mind,” says Ryan Hammoud.
The study was conducted between April 2018 and October 2021. 1,292 members left 26,856 ratings using the app developed by landscape architects J&L Gibbons and the arts foundation Nomad Projects.
Participants were recruited from all over the world, but still most of them were based in the UK, the European Union and the United States.
The app asked participants three times a day if they could see or hear the birds, and then asked questions about mental well-being so that the researchers could eventually make a connection between the two phenomena and estimate how long the bird influence had been active.
People were also asked about existing diagnoses of mental illness. In the end, the researchers found that listening to or watching birds improved the mental well-being of volunteers, both healthy and depressed people.
Treatment for depression
Andrea Mechelli, Professor at IoPPN said, “The term ‘ecosystem services’ is often used to describe the benefits of certain aspects of the natural environment for our physical and mental health. Scientifically, this is not easy to prove.
Our work provides the evidence base for the creation and maintenance of biodiverse bird spaces. In addition, our data support the implementation of measures to increase opportunities to encounter birds [in densely populated cities], especially for those living with mental health conditions such as depression.”
“This interesting study confirms how uplifting the sight and sound of birdsong is. It contains intriguing evidence that environmental biodiversity restores mental health.
That the sensory stimulation of birdsong as part of these daily doses of nature is precious and long lasting [up to 8 hours],” remarks Joe Gibbons of J&L Gibbons
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