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Sounds of nature can boost your health and well-being, study of national parks shows

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Fort Collins, CO — Birds chirping, the babble of a river or stream, and the countless other sounds of nature can provide health benefits and stress relief, results of a recent study from the National Park Service show.

Researchers from NPS and three universities first looked at 18 studies on the health benefits of natural sounds. They found “aggregate evidence” of lower stress, decreased pain, improved mood and enhanced brain functioning. The sounds of water were most effective at improving positive emotions and health outcomes, while bird sounds helped ease stress and annoyance.

 

“In so many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of nature for human health,” said Rachel Buxton, one of the lead authors and post-doctoral researcher at Carleton University. “As traffic has declined during quarantine, many people have connected with soundscapes in a whole new way – noticing the relaxing sounds of birds singing just outside their window. How remarkable that these sounds are also good for our health.”

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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