Yes, listening to nature sounds seems quite lovely, but there’s actually research to back up the benefit, too. Specifically, one study has shown that those who listened to woodland sounds–like a trickling stream, birdsong, or crunching leaves–reported a 30% increase in relaxation. And of those sounds, birdsong was the runaway winner, with 40% of participants saying the sound made them feel happier. So if you’re headed out the door in the hopes of finding some peace, take out your headphones and see if you can hear some birdsong–it might be worth your while.
That being said, not everyone has the ability to stroll through a quiet, serene nature space. If you live in a bustling city, the surrounding noise may consist of more honking horns and passing trains, less trickling streams and birdsongs. Unfortunately, she continues, you can’t find a birdsong playlist and reap the same benefits. “Perhaps we know it’s not the same. It doesn’t feel right listening to fake birdsong,” she notes.
So if you do need some peace while walking through the city, using headphones to cancel out any noise may still be helpful, and Streets agrees. “I would absolutely listen to a podcast–not all the time but quite often,” she says. In addition, that same study showed that a voiced meditation may also help ease stress and increase happiness–so that’s always an option too.