According to The Columbus Dispatch, two independent studies have found that simply being outdoors can boost your mood. Neuroscientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) found “the benefits include increasing the size of the area in the prefrontal cortex where something called cognitive control takes place.”
“A whole-brain analysis revealed that time spent outdoors was positively associated with gray matter volume … and positive (mood),” the study reports. The participants were “26,000 adults from 26 European countries” who included “young, healthy adults who self-reported changes in mood after immersion in the outdoors.”
Another study found that just seeing birds can uplift your mood. “According to our findings, the happiest Europeans are those who can experience numerous different bird species in their daily life, or who live in near-natural surroundings that are home to many species,” Joel Methorst, the lead author of the study said.