There was a good "thumbs-up" to backyard bird feeding in the July/August 2008 issue of Health magazine. In the article "In search of stillness", freelance writer Margaret Renkl finds inner peace in her own backyard.
After a harried month, the author was searching for some stillness, calm and inner peace. She states, "studies have shown that learning to still the mind, if only for a few minutes, can lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, limit stress hormones, and enhance immune function." So off she went on her search for an activity that would calm her mind.
First she tried a Tai Chi DVD at home and found it mesmerizing and filled with quiet concentration. She emerged feeling refreshed and rested. Then she tried knitting, which she calls a "perfect example of active stillness".
Having heard that exposure to nature can boost one's general well-being and sense of calm, she then set off for a long walk in the woods. It was peaceful all right, but she was unable to "give up an hour every day to nature". So in her attempts to find smaller-scale nature interactions, she put up a birdfeeder that she could see from her desk.
Did the birdfeeder help her find the peace and stillness she sought? After watching goldfinches and cardinals courting "right outside my window", she called her birdfeeder "the best minidose of nature I've found so far".
She discovered what we all discovered long ago - that you don't have to go far to enjoy nature when you have a birdfeeder, birdbath, and/or birdhouse in your backyard. Almost everyone I talk to at the store agrees that if we were to put on a blood pressure cuff while watching the birds at our feeder, we'd see our pressure heading downward.
Renkl reminds us that "the world can offer peace and stillness, even in the midst of mayhem". Do you find calmness and inner peace when you watch the birds at your feeders and baths?
Remember to take time everyday to find your inner peace - pause and enjoy the birds in your own yard.