Happiness is… Watching Nature Videos on the BBC

Spending time watching nature programs can improve your mood. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)
Spending time watching nature programs can improve your mood. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

Ever wanted to watch a long, relaxing nature video and forget about the worries of everyday life? Well, the BBC seems to have gotten the message and has recently uploaded a few 10-hour videos for the sake of your weary soul.

Documentary marathon

The videos, seven in total, are listed on the BBC Earth YouTube channel. Each video covers different subjects under the Oceanscapes category. These include:  The Coral Reef, Coastlines, Ocean Surface, Open Ocean, Frozen Seas, Deep Ocean, and Sea Forests. None of the videos feature any commentary or background music. It’s just visuals and natural sounds. Perfect!

The cinematography is quite wonderful, with many scenes guaranteed to make your jaw drop. The videos will make you think deeply about the interdependence of life and our duty as custodians of the planet to preserve its beauty and bounty. If you have any events happening at home and want your big screen to feature something beautiful, then these videos will do the trick. They are also ideal when meditating since they produce a positive, calming effect.

(Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

The videos will make you think deeply about the interdependence of life and our duty as custodians of the planet to preserve its beauty and bounty. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

Benefits of nature documentaries

Watching nature documentaries is a beneficial activity. A study conducted by Professor Dacher Keltner, an expert in the science of emotions at the University of California, Berkeley, found that such shows created positive emotions even if people spent just a short time watching them.

Over 7,500 people from across the world participated in the study whose responses before and after watching were tracked and analyzed. Their real-time responses to the video footage were captured using facial mapping technology. After watching a video, the participants were asked to complete a few tests to ascertain their mood.

The people who saw the documentaries showed “significant increases in feelings of awe, amazement, wonder; curiosity, interest and wanting to explore; joy, excitement and enthusiasm; contentment, relaxation and peacefulness; amusement, having fun and laughing… [and] significant decreases in nervousness, anxiety and fear; stress and overburden; anger and irritability; tiredness, fatigue and low energy,” according to the BBC.

Though both genders felt awe, wonder, and amazement after seeing the nature videos, women felt such emotions 35 percent more than men. Younger participants between 16 and 24 years of age reported the greatest amount of emotional change among all age groups. Most of them had some of the highest levels of negative emotions prior to watching, which went down drastically after they saw the splendid beauty of nature. In addition to this experiment, the study also checked out 150 other scientific reports that explored the relationship between nature and emotion.

(Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

Younger participants between 16 and 24 years of age reported the greatest amount of emotional change among all age groups. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

Other researchers looked at 20 studies that had investigated meditation and found the activity to produce a positive effect on people. What is interesting is that the researchers found the exact same feelings were present in people who were watching nature documentaries.

“People who meditated were more likely to report increased feelings of compassion or empathy compared to a ‘passive’ control group of participants who were not given any tasks. However, the researchers did not see significant changes in compassion or empathy when meditators were compared to an ‘active’ control group, who had been shown nature videos,” according to Huffington Post. The research was conducted by scientists from Massey University in New Zealand, Coventry University in the UK, and Radboud University in the Netherlands.

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