Enjoying nature including by birding is good for body and soul

Here, a page with snippets from studies showing ways experiencing greenery – even seeing trees, along with activities like hiking and birding – can benefit our physical and mental well-being.

Birding can boost mental health

Even in downtown Beijing [1985!], birding can be rewarding

I’ve met many birders, and found they tend to be decent people; which might of course mean decent people are disproportionately drawn to birding, but it also could be that birding itself helps make people better versions of themselves. Here, from an article on some research:

A new study finds people who have nature-based experiences report better well-being and lower psychological distress than those who do not. Birdwatching in particular yielded promising results, with higher gains in subjective well-being and more reduction in distress than more generic nature exposure, such as walks. Because birdwatching is an easily accessible activity, the results are encouraging for college students — who are among those most likely to suffer from mental health problems.

Birdwatching can help students improve mental health, reduce distress

Simply looking at trees or photos of trees can help

If the idea of going out and about birding seems just too tiring to contenplate, consider this:

The majority of the studies that used display stimuli, such as photos, 3D images, virtual reality, and videos of natural landscapes, confirmed that viewing natural scenery led to more relaxed body responses than viewing the control. Studies that used real nature stimuli reported that visual contact with flowers, green plants, and wooden materials had positive effects on cerebral and autonomic nervous activities compared with the control. Accumulation of scientific evidence of the physiological relaxation associated with viewing elements of nature would be useful for preventive medicine, specifically nature therapy.

Physiological Benefits of Viewing Nature: A Systematic Review of Indoor Experiments

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