Tongass Forest Understory

A new study published in the journal, Molecular Psychiatry, offers convincing evidence that a simple walk in nature can lower activity in stress-related brain regions. The experiment revealed that participants who walked for an hour “in a forest” showed decreased amygdala activity during a stress task, while those who walked for an hour in the city did not.

“There has been solid research showing that exposure to nature is beneficial for mental health and cognition, but no study so far has examined neural mechanisms lying behind these effects,” explained Sonja Sudimac, one of the study’s key researchers.

While the study did not emphasize the added element of bird watching, it seemed to verify what many birders have often felt after spending time outdoors: relaxed and renewed.

For more information on this study, see this summary article on

Reprinted from the October, 2022 Birding Community e-Bulletin. Visit the e-Bulletin Archives here.