Being in nature and enjoying the fresh air can improve mood, psychological well-being and cognitive functioning. Research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College in London links exposure to birds and birdsong to improved well-being that can last up to eight hours.
During a study that took place from April 2018 through October 2021, 1,292 participants completed 28,856 assessments using an app to track if they had seen or heard birds, along with other questions about their well-being. Participants reported being in a better mood if they were in the presence of birds. Researchers have found that watching birds at a bird feeder for 10 minutes can boost your mood.
Bird watching is one of the most popular nature-based recreational activities across the globe, captivating over 70 million people in the United States and 1.3 million people in the United Kingdom.
If you’re looking for a way to boost your overall well-being and connect with other people, consider bird watching. Here are some tips to get started:
- Grab a pair of binoculars and a camera.
- Choose a bird identification field book or app.
- Learn common bird calls.
- Use feeders (black-oil sunflower, suet, hummingbird) to bring the birds to you.
- Venture to woods, streams, oceans or local parks to find birds.
- Keep a record of the birds you identify.
- Read or watch inspiring bird-watching books and movies.
- Join a bird-watching club to connect with other birdwatchers and expand your knowledge.
Bird watching provides an opportunity to pause, observe and interact with nature. It can also be a fun family activity, providing education and physical activity.
Learn more about bird watching in this Blue Cross Virtual Well-Being℠ webinar, Birding and the Brain. You can also sign up for future employer- or individual-focused webinars and guided meditations here.
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