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.
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
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.
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.
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.