How nature walks help with stress, anxiety, mental disorders – bird watching and tree hugs

Tree cuddling and bird watching improve health. How does it work

How does nature psychologically affect a person?

Bird watching can be a great alternative to fitness and meditation, scientists say.

Anna Ratnikova

How does oneness with nature affect a person’s mental state?

Everyone is talking about mental well-being today. Talking does not make it easier and stress and apathy break records. And here, more than ever, we need the help of nature.

The simplest practices in interacting with nature:

  • optical (observation)
  • sound (listen to the birdsong, the sound of surfing).
  • tactile (swimming in the sea, cuddling with trees, relaxing on the grass, touching the sea sand).


They are ideal for developing and training the senses. Back in the 1980s, the Japanese government included a practice called “shinrin-yoku” – “forest bathing” in the national health plan, as walking in nature helps reduce stress and anxiety and improves health. According to studies in Japan and China, walks in the forest also have healing effects on the immune, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, reduce depression and stress and help with relaxation.

According to a study conducted by Australian and British environmentalists, people who visit parks or are out in nature for at least 30 minutes a week are less likely to suffer from mental health problems and high blood pressure. Regular walks will give a much greater result.

bird watching

In psychology, a special place is given to the study of the effect of sounds on the state of the soul. The voices of birds bring joy to a person. And the relationship between positive emotions and physical health is well known. Bird watching is an attempt to distinguish birds from each other by their appearance and song. In some countries it is one of the most popular types of outdoor recreation.


There are at least three reasons why you should start bird watching:

  1. It has been scientifically proven that the presence of wild birds next to a person significantly improves his mood and health. A study published in the journal BioScience found that the abundance of plants and birds around a person contributes to the less frequent spread of depression, anxiety and stress.
  2. Bird watching can also be a great alternative to fitness and meditation. Professional bird watching requires constant movement, dexterity and concentration.
  3. Bird watching gives a sense of inner harmony, as humans have a biological attraction to nature.


Bird watching is becoming more and more popular all over the world. As a result, medical clinics in Europe have begun collaborating with bird training programs in conservation organizations, such as the British Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Joint programs make it possible to create new effective forms of psychological support. In Russia, by the way, you can also watch birds.

Hugs with trees

Hugs with trees also help prevent mental disorders. This simple action boosts the levels of the hormone oxytocin, which is responsible for feelings of calm and emotional connection. Hugging a tree releases serotonin and dopamine, hormones that make you happier.


From interesting facts. During the coronavirus pandemic, the Icelandic Forest Service has found a new way to deal with the lockdown that many people in the country are suffering from. The service encouraged people to deal with feelings of anxiety and loneliness by embracing trees. To do this, Hallormsstadur National Park specifically cleared the snow and gave recommendations on how to practice safely in the lap. Similar advice during quarantine was given to Kuban residents by the Caucasus Biosphere Reserve. Also, many started supporting the #hugtree challenge.


We can talk endlessly about the positive effect of nature on human health. We recommend that you include simple things for relaxation in your daily life: walks in parks, squares, going to the sea, gardening, rest in sanatoriums. Listening to the sounds of nature, if there is no way to leave, will also give a good result – life will shine with new colors and the emotional background will be stabilized.

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