For a large portion of the population, this past year has been a more stressful one than usual, full of unexpected twists and turns. Unsurprisingly, it’s taken a toll on many people’s mental health. If you’ve been struggling, you could consider taking up bird watching. The mental health benefits of bird watching are surprising, and giving this hobby a try may help your mental well-being.
You’ll Feel More Relaxed
Bird watching requires you to sit quietly and observe. It forces you to slow down and live in the moment. Whether you are out in the woods or sitting on the back porch of your house, bird watching allows you to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature and learn the behaviors of different types of birds. Being in this peaceful and beautiful environment with no distractions gives you a chance to relax and destress.
Helps Reduce Depression and Anxiety
A 2017 study from the University of Exeter shows that bird watching reduces depression and anxiety in individuals. The study demonstrated that the number of birds an individual saw in a given period was more important than the type of birds seen or the individual’s ability to identify them. If your backyard is a good habitat for birds but you don’t see many, try choosing a bird feeder to put in your yard. If your backyard doesn’t contain much shrubbery, try taking a walk in your local park or forest preserve to see more birds.
Increases Appreciation of Nature
Watching birds will influence your mindset about nature, increasing your appreciation for it and making you more aware of its presence in your daily life. It will help you remember to pause and appreciate the beauty of the world, giving you a healthier perspective on life overall.
It Will Put a Smile on Your Face
Just like humans, animals have personalities, and it’s fun to observe the distinct behavioral patterns and charms of each bird. If you watch in the same place every time, you’ll likely see many of the same birds over and over, and you’ll see how they behave over time. Some of them might even have entertaining habits!
A fun and relaxing activity, the mental health benefits of bird watching are vast. With so many guides and helpful materials, it can be as casual or complex as you want to make it. If you need some time to yourself or you’re just feeling a little bit bored, give bird watching a try. It might just become your new favorite hobby.