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If you’re feeling stressed and anxious, research says: feed the birds
(NewsUSA) – In today’s constant contact, cell-phone celebrated, digital world, most people can go days or even weeks without spending any time in natural sunlight. Instead, we eat breakfast inside, or on the go, only to race to an office, filled with artificial light and plastic plants, for 8 to 10 hours a day. It’s no wonder why Americans’ mental health is suffering. Compare that hectic routine to those memorable moments when you’re able to sit quietly, let the sunshine warm your face, hear the birds, and allow nature to envelope you. While everyone longs for less stress, actually relaxing can be dauntingly stressful!However, a new study out of the United Kingdom sheds light on one way people can de-stress: bird watching. The study finds that people who watch birds from their home have lower depression, anxiety, and stress compared to those that live in less leafy areas that have fewer birds. People “felt relaxed and connected to nature when they watched birds in their garden,” researchers say. These feelings increased with the level of bird feeding in the yard, they add. Specifically, the number of birds people might see was directly associated with better mental health. “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 preventive health care, making cities healthier, happier places to live.,” says lead researcher Dr. Daniel Cox from the University of Exeter. Dr. Tina Phillips, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, agrees. “Overwhelmingly, studies show that people feed birds because it makes them feel more relaxed, that it’s something they’re interested in and ultimately something that makes them feel good. “If you want to disconnect from the digital world and relieve some daily stress and anxiety, getting outside, bird watching could be the key to increasing your mindful, mental health. Since studies reveal the more birds you see, the less likely you are to be stressed and anxious, it’s important to attract as many birds as possible. Once you start watching birds in action, they’ll engage your attention in a way that keeps you in the moment, a state that provides mental relief. Admiring their beauty, listening to their sweet song and enjoying their antics will calm your overactive mind and bring joy and renewal.