369 Nature & Mental Health


Research by Cox, Daniel. T., Shanahan, Danielle. F., Hudson, Hannah. L., Plummer, Kate. E., Siriwardena, Gavin. M., Fuller, Richard. A., …. Gaston, Kevin. J. (2017).

Written by Shannon Cantalupo, B.S. 

Have you ever stepped outside and felt so relaxed breathing in fresh air and hearing the quiet sound of nature? Do feelings of anxiety, depression or stress decrease when surrounded by nature? Ecology, Health and Mental Health researchers were interested in what components of nature produce positive mental-health outcomes and if there is a threshold in the mental-health response.

In the United Kingdom over 260 individuals participated in this study, when there was data for both neighborhood vegetation covering and bird abundance. Two measures of actual bird abundance were taken. One measured bird’s activity in the morning, when birds are most active. The other measured bird’s activity in the afternoon, when humans are most active. The participants completed depression, anxiety, and stress scales.

Results? Individuals who lived within a neighborhood that had more vegetation cover and afternoon bird abundances displayed a decrease in depression, anxiety, and stress severity. Those that spent less time outside, showed more depression and anxiety symptoms.

So, if you’re having a stressful week, that left you feeling depressed or anxious, go outside into nature and listen to the birds in the trees, you’ll find yourself more relaxed. Appreciate our wonderful Birds!


Cox, D. T., Shanahan, D. F., Hudson, H. L., Plummer, K. E., Siriwardena, G. M., Fuller, R. A., …. Gaston, K. J. (2017). Doses of neighborhood nature: The benefits for mental health of living with nature. BioScience, 67(2), 147 – 155.



About Author

Adele Hall is the administrative assistant for the School of Psychology in charge of uploading the Psychology Science minutes. The authors of the minutes are listed in the written portion. The Psychology Science Minutes are coordinated by Juanita N. Baker, Ph.D., faculty emerita, and reviewed by former Dean Mary Beth Kenkel, faculty emerita.

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