I am thrilled to be part of this blog tour for several reasons:
1) I love nature and animals and birds of all kinds
2) I am passionate about the belief that nature can aid recovery for both physical and mental health issues
3) It brings another spotlight to mental health issues which we need to continue to talk about
About Bird Therapy:
When Joe Harkness suffered a breakdown in 2013, he tried all the things his doctor recommended: medication helped, counselling was enlightening, and mindfulness grounded him. But nothing came close to nature, particularly birds. How had he never noticed such beauty before? Soon, every avian encounter took him one step closer to accepting who he is.
The positive change in Joe’s wellbeing was so profound that he started a blog to record his experience. Three years later he has become a spokesperson for the benefits of birdwatching, spreading the word everywhere from Radio 4 to Downing Street.
In this groundbreaking book filled with practical advice, Joe explains the impact that birdwatching had on his life, and invites the reader to discover these extraordinary effects for themselves.
Bird Therapy has a forward by Chris Packham, who also shares some of his story (which I was unaware of) and this sets up the book for what is to come. This book resonated with me in so many places and the fact that it is written in an engaging way that reassures is very comforting. He talks to us about birds, how to watch and listen, but more importantly the impact they have on developing mindfulness (sounds, behaviours, mannerisms, relationships) – it forces you to slow down, to block everything else out, to become calm.
In Bird Therapy, Joe Harkness shares his personal story of living with OCD, anxiety, and depression, and how he manages it through nature and birdwatching. Of course, he talks about his illness but this is ultimately an uplifting book with practical advice at the end of each chapter. Also in each chapter, which always starts with a lovely drawing of a bird and a quote, he shares a different glimpse of his birdwatching journey, from setting up his first bird feeders to his experiences of rare bird sightings.
Reading this book was a reminder of how much we still need to push the topic of mental health further up the agenda, and also how far we have come in just the last few years which is certainly very encouraging.
A book for everyone. Important, timely and accessible.
I moved house a year ago and I am now lucky to live in a garden with many trees (silver birch, oak, pine, cherry) and all day long I am treated to birds and squirrels. On a morning, I open my bedroom window and lean out and just listen. Is there a more lovely way to start the day? I think not.
This book is for anyone and well worth a read. Highly recommended.
Please take a look at the other blogs on the tour too: