In some countries, doing something for your nation truly is all about pride and patriotism because the government does not offer any compensation for their Olympic medalists, who have to rely exclusively on endorsements or speeches to cash in on their Olympic fame. Examples of those countries are Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, and New Zealand.
Poets have long been enchanted by the sound of birds singing, and they have often written about its calming effect. A new study claims that birdsong is beneficial to mental health. Academics from King’s College London discovered that hearing birds, seeing them, and having regular encounters with birds improved the moods of both depressed people and the general population.
The study used a smartphone app, Urban Mind, to track about 1,300 people’s daily interactions with birds in 2021. People were present in the United Kingdom, Europe, the United States, Australia, and China.
The app was used by participants in the study to report their emotions, including whether they were worried or cheerful, if they could see trees, and whether they could see or hear birds. Even if patients had previously been diagnosed with depression, their general mental health improved when they saw or heard birds.
Result of the study
When participants saw or heard birds, their average mental well-being scores climbed, even among those who declared a diagnosis of depression. This effect continued beyond the moment of seeing birds, with people who did not see or hear birds reporting greater levels of mental well-being the following time they recorded their mood. According to the researchers, this favorable impact did not persist if the subjects did not see birds during the second assessment of their mood, showing “a putative causal connection effect of birdlife on mental wellness.”
Andrea Mechelli, a professor of early intervention in mental health at King’s College London, believes that, particularly in metropolitan settings, we must build and sustain habitats where birds thrive. In addition to plants and trees, a healthy bird population requires vegetation. Our cities must develop their complete ecologies. He went on to explain that bird interactions have a favorable effect on persons with depression because many “interventions that help so-called ‘healthy people’ do not work for individuals with mental health disorders.”
It may appear strange to present nature’s beauty and inspiration in such a scientific – some might say soulless – manner. How do you put a price on a turtle-wing dove’s swoosh or write a prescription for a dose of dawn chorus? However, such statistics are now more important than ever. According to the United Nations, cities house 54% of the world’s population, a figure that is steadily increasing. More and more of us are living lives apart from nature, but studies like these provide planners with concrete evidence that green spaces do matter.