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The New Destress: Why Birdwatching Will Make You Happier

birdwatching makes you happier

That’s the finding of a new study from doctors at the University of Queensland and the UK’s University of Exeter that asked people how many feathered friends they could see out of their window and then compared the number to mood.

birdwatching makes you destress

They found that more birds equalled a lower risk of depression, anxiety or stress. Exactly why birds are the ultimate chill out animal ‘needs unpicking’ say the scientists but previous studies have shown that those who interact with birds are calmer and that hearing birdsong reduces stress.

So, how do you encourage more birds to your area? According to the team at Birdlife Australia birds like gardens with lots of tall trees or mid-level shrubs that give them somewhere to hide or nest but also provide them with insects to eat.

If you can’t provide greenery, then a water feature like a birdbath can encourage visitors. One mistake not to make though is feeding them. ‘A constant supply of artificial food can be unhealthy for birds and attract large numbers of one species at the expense of diversity,’ says the Birdlife Australia team. It’s a better idea to let them find their own food.

Birdwatching isn’t the only intriguing new idea that calms us down however; here are three more innovative ideas making waves in the wellness world

Mindful Dishwashing

Don’t just slap the dishes in the dishwasher; instead take time to wash them by hand focusing on the smell of the soap, the warmth of the water, the popping of the bubbles. According to research at the US’s Florida University focused dishwashing is a great activity to bring your thoughts to the now – something associated with less stress.

Swaddling

Japanese professor Nobuko Watanabe invented this technique which sees grown adults being wrapped head to toe in a sheet in an attempt to emulate the feeling of security we get in the womb. It costs around £20 for a 20 minute session.

Whisper Videos

Huge on YouTube, ASMR videos show someone brushing their hair or speaking in a whisper or monotone and many people find them incredibly calming. Some even get a tingling on their scalp as they watch – known as an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (the ASMR of the title). What this is scientists don’t really know but researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University have measured a clear mood boost after it happens.

Written by Helen Foster

Helen Foster is The Carousel’s Health Editor. She is a highly regarded health journalist and author of multiple books.
Originally from the UK, she has worked for every major British newspaper and women's magazine in Britain. She was also a member of the Guild of Health Writers and the Medical Journalists Association.
Helen is a regular contributor for the Daily Mail newspaper, Stella at the Sunday Telegraph, Fabulous magazine, Sainsbury's magazine and UK Glamour.
She is also author 12 health and wellness books and has just finished No13 and she writes about fitness and health trends on her award-winning blog NotYourNormalHealthBlog.com.

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