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If feeling low is for the birds, maybe it’s only right that our feathered friends can also lift our spirits.

Recent research suggests that listening to birdsong — whether in nature or via a digital device — may improve our mental well-being. It’s about connecting with nature, which has long been shown to improve both body and brain health.

“The special thing about birdsong is that even if people live in very urban environments and do not have a lot of contact with nature, they link the songs of birds to vital and intact natural environments,” Emil Stobbe, an environmental neuroscientist at the Max Planck Institute, tells the Washington Post.

In Stobbe’s study, one group of participants listened to audio clips of birdsong, while another listened to recordings of traffic noise. Those who listened to birdsong reported fewer depressive symptoms and less anxiety and paranoia. Those who listened to traffic noise, on the other hand, reported feeling more depressed.

In another study, spanning three and a half years and involving nearly 1,300 participants, researchers reported a strong association between hearing or seeing birds and improved well-being. And their improved mood lasted for hours.

Craig Cox
Craig Cox

Craig Cox is an Experience Life deputy editor who explores the joys and challenges of healthy aging.

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