Birdwatching and Other Mental Health Activities
By Brandi Goodman
Did you know a National Bird Feeding Month exists? It falls to February each year. Birdwatching, feeding birds, and finding other calming outdoor activities are great for your mental health. Give these activities a try when you're feeling low or stressed, and need to do something to occupy your time and your mind.
How Does Birdwatching Help Your Mind?
Sit outside on your porch or in your yard and watch your surroundings. When a bird comes by, watch as it soars, wings expanded. Watch as it dips down into the trees or touches the ground. See it peck at the ground in search of food. As you're doing all of this watching, you're probably focused on the bird only. This means you aren't thinking about anything else going on in your life -- including the stressful pieces that have overwhelmed you as of late. It's a great distraction that can really help you ease your mind and find comfort.
Stress relief isn't the only benefit. If you have less stress and a clear mind from your birdwatching activities, you're more likely to experience a boost in cognitive abilities. Your brain is better able to focus after time spent watching birds or being out in nature in general. It also works to decrease blood pressure.
Perhaps birds don't interest you. That's OK. Give plant exploration a try instead. Go around your neighborhood or down a path at a nearby park and explore all of the trees and plants in the area. Learn how to identify which plants are which by their leaves, flowers, and markings. This activity can help you focus your mind, ease your stress, and improve your mental health just as well as birdwatching can.
Take a Walk Through a Natural Area
Another even more simple option is to take a walk. Just go to a natural area with paths available and walk through. You don't have to take note of the birds soaring above you or the trees around you. Instead, just think about the entirety of the scene sprawled out before you. Together, the animals and plants that live in this world are free from the societal expectations you have. Be one with them for a while and be at peace knowing you're simply here in this moment -- in this great big world that's far more beautiful and expansive than is possible to imagine.
Give birdwatching, feeding, and related outdoor activities a try. Being in nature and watching closely all of the everyday things that happen as the world goes on around them can really help you keep a clear mind. Your mental health will benefit more than you know when you add these options to your list of hobbies.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Alpharetta, Ga.