We have long talked about the physical and emotional benefits of being out in nature, but a new study from the BBC and University of California-Berkeley shows that even just watching videos of nature can have emotional benefits.
More than 7,500 nature video watchers from around the world were surveyed about their mood. Participants then watched short clips from the new BBC documentary Planet Earth II and were asked to evaluate their emotional state again. The project is called “The Real Happiness Project.”
Professor Dacher Keltner is a psychologist and an expert in how humans express emotions. According to an article published by RealScreen.com and broadcast on the BBC World News, “[t[he shifts in emotion demonstrated in the BBC study as a result of watching this powerful natural history series are significant as we know that wonder and contentment are the foundations of human happiness.”
“If people experience feelings of awe, they are more likely to display empathetic and charitable behaviors and have been shown to be better able to handle stress,” Keltner said.
You can read the more about the study and the results here. If you find yourself in a foul mood, Sir David Attenborough’s documentary series Planet Earth II airs on BBC America – though if you don’t have cable, a few minutes of cat videos on YouTube may do the trick.