We all know that spending time in the great outdoors does a whole lot of good, from helping you get some vitamin D, to giving you some fresh air. But, it turns out, the sounds that come from Mother Nature are also beneficial for your mental health, according to new research from the University of Exeter.
Over 7,500 people had their data collected for the BBC’s Forest 404 podcast. The podcast is a sci-fi thriller that is set in the future where there are no longer any forests. The participants listened to sounds from different environments from around the world, including English coasts and Papua New Guinean rainforests.
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What are the benefits of nature sounds?
The study found that listening to the sounds of birdsong alleviated participants’ stress and mental fatigue. They also discovered that listeners reported therapeutic effects from landscape noises such as waves or rain.
“As towns and cities fell quiet in recent lockdowns, many people rediscovered the natural sounds around them,” Alex Smalley, the study’s leading researcher said. “Our findings suggest that protecting these experiences could be beneficial for both mental health and conservation behaviour.”
“If we hope to harness nature’s health benefits in the future, we need to ensure everyone has opportunities to foster positive experiences with the natural world today,” he said.
If your mental health has been taking a hit lately, it could be worth it to go for a hike and listen to the sounds from nature that are all around. If that’s not possible, try putting on a playlist that features birds singing or water falling — it might just offer you some mental reprieve.
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