How do the sights and sounds of singing birds make you feel? Happy? Relaxed? Focused?
Whether you notice it or not, you may actually feel better mentally when seeing or hearing birds.
It’s widely accepted that immersing oneself in nature can boost mental wellbeing. Yet, there’s been little information on how specific features in nature affect our moods.
New research from King’s College London has found that hearing and seeing birds can impact our moods and mental wellbeing in a positive way, independent of the overall environment.
How the Study was Conducted
The researchers sought to isolate data from human-bird encounters and track those people’s moods. By using a smartphone app called Urban Mind, they were able to study people’s moods 3 times per day for 14 days (42 total assessments).
On each of these assessments, around 1,300 participants recorded their mental state and briefly described their environment. The question fields were as follows:
- I am feeling happy.
- I am feeling stressed.
- Can you see trees right now?
- Can you see or hear birds right now?
For fields (1) and (2), participants recorded their level of happiness and stress by choosing from a range of “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”. Fields (3) and (4) prompted simple yes/no responses.
Results from Bird Interactions
Do birds help mental health? The study showed significant evidence that everyday encounters with birds improved participants’ moods. Regardless of demographics like age or gender, there was a general uptick in happiness and a decrease in stress.
One could deduce that the findings are a result of being surrounded by nature, and not from bird encounters. However, researchers found a possible causal link between seeing and hearing birds and participants’ mental well-being.
For those that reported hearing or seeing birds, higher levels of mental wellbeing were noted at the next assessment, even if they were not around birds at that time. Meanwhile, mental wellbeing was generally lower in participants who had not seen or heard birds during their previous assessment.
In fact, the research found that a simple bird encounter can improve people’s mental wellbeing for up to eight hours after seeing or hearing the birds.
Why is this Data Important?
Treatment for Depression
Did you know nearly 30% of people in nursing homes have minor or major depression? It’s also the second most common psychiatric illness in the elderly, and the recent COVID-19 pandemic made matters much worse.
This new data on bird encounters offers insight into better treatment for depression. For example, some participants in the study noted a previous diagnosis of depression. Those who saw or heard birds reported a general uptick in their mental wellbeing.
Bird watching is a form of therapy that encourages us to redirect our focus and relax our mental state. It’s also a pastime that doesn’t cost much, as opposed to expensive medications.
If you’d like to learn about the causes, signs, or treatments for depression, there are great online recourses available, like the Eisenberg Family Depression Center.
Happiness is Important for Physical Health
Studies have shown that people who are generally happier have more effective immune systems. In one such study, participants were given a nasal drop containing one of two types of the common cold. Researchers found that members who reported as the happiest at the beginning of the study were the least likely to get sick.
Based on this data, do you think an indoor aviary could benefit residents and staff in a nursing home? Or patients at a hospital?
Our clients say it has.
Need more convincing? Visit Positive Psychology’s website for a list of studies that found some physical benefits of having positive mental health.
Spending Time Outside is Crucial
Going outside and surrounding oneself with nature is an excellent activity for our physical and mental states. Unfortunately, some people, especially those in nursing homes, may not have that luxury.
This is a primary reason that nursing home aviaries have become so popular. And for over a decade, Serenity Aquarium & Aviary Services has provided nursing home residents with an indoor aviary and a collection of vibrant, joyful finches.
How important is it for people to frequently experience nature?
Well, studies show that people who live in areas with more birds, shrubs, and trees are less stressed and less likely to suffer from depression than those that don’t. Going for walks, hikes, bird watching, picnics, and picking flowers are all plausible outdoor activities that can really brighten someone’s mood.
How We Bring Nature and Birds Indoors
We fabricate spacious bird aviaries for facilities across the US. Not only do we build aviaries and provide finches for them, but we also offer comprehensive aviary services, so their staff is never tied up with cleaning or maintaining an aviary. Healthcare, hospitality, and small businesses are just a few of the industries that we work with.
Since adding an aviary to their space, our clients have noticed happier residents, delighted guests, and increased productivity, respectively. Do you think a bird enclosure can benefit you and the people you work with?
We welcome you to learn more about Serenity and decide for yourself.