Nature sounds beneficial against stress and anxiety

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The sounds of nature are beneficial both physically and mentally. A walk in an urban park or in the forest has a very positive effect on many health parameters.

More and more research is being conducted in the health benefits of visiting green spaces (parks, woods, forests, etc.) and blue spaces (seaside, ponds, rivers, etc.). Regular walks in these environments are particularly beneficial, both for the mind and for the physical.

The effects of noise pollution

The positive effects of these moments of “active relaxation” are based on the combination of psychological relaxation (the wandering mind) and physical activity (walking or jogging). But other elements come into play, which refer to our senses: sight, of course, but also hearing through exposure to the sounds of nature. There are many concerns about the effects of noise pollution, and links are being made to cardiovascular disease, sleep disturbances and some mental health issues. Many experts insist that specific and energetic attention be paid to this real public health challenge, which does not appear to be a major priority for the authorities. This being the case, and conversely, can noise be beneficial?

A Canadian team (Carleton University) compared the results of some 20 large international studies on the effect of nature sounds on physical and mental health. This work was carried out in various contexts: in a natural environment (forest, urban park, etc.), in a laboratory or in a hospital environment (with the broadcasting of soundtracks).

Water, wind and birds

The observation is clear: the noises and sounds of nature have a particularly favorable effect on stress and anxiety, on mood, on pain, on physical and mental well-being, as well as on cognitive performance. Three types of sounds stand out: the sound of water (river, waterfall. water streams…), that of the wind (in trees in particular), and birdsong.

The first recommendation of specialists is to encourage everyone to immerse themselves as often as possible in these environments, if only by taking a short walk. The second is aimed at managers, in particular of public urban parks: it is important to create the conditions necessary for natural sounds to be preserved, aroused or reinforced. These developments do not require considerable investment, knowing that they can greatly benefit the greatest number.