People who live in neighbourhoods with more birds, trees and shrubs have lower levels of depression, new research finds.
Whether people live in urban or rural areas; trees, birds and shrubs are linked to better mental health, including lower anxiety, stress and depression.
The conclusions come from a study in which 270 people were surveyed.
They came from a variety of places in the UK, backgrounds and ethnicities.
The results also showed that the more time people spent inside in the previous week, the worse they felt.
When outside, the more birds they could see in the afternoon, the less depressed they were.
It didn’t matter if the birds were robins, blackbirds, blue tits or crows.
Dr Daniel Cox, who led the study, said:
“This study starts to unpick the role that some key components of nature play for our mental well-being.
Birds around the home, and nature in general, show great promise in preventative health care, making cities healthier, happier places to live.”
The researchers took into account people’s personal circumstances, including the fact that some people live in poorer areas.
The results follow on from a previous study by Dr Cox showing that bird watching makes people feel more relaxed and connected to nature.
This study is the latest in an ever-expanding literature on the tremendous benefits to mental health of being out in nature.
Studies have found that being in nature relaxes the mind and boosts the immune system.
Woodlands help to regulate emotional balance and bring ecstasy, joy and calm.
Even looking at green spaces out of the window has been shown to boost mental health.
→ Continue reading: 10 Remarkable Ways Nature Can Heal Your Mind
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The study was published in the journal BioScience (Cox et al., 2017).