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Nature Documentaries Make People Happier, New Study Finds

Science By
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)


As depressing as the news often is, a new study suggests there’s an antidote: nature videos.

Inspired by the proven benefit of spending time outdoors, UC Berkley psychologist Dacher Kelter wanted to see if the connection with positive emotions translated to the screen, Medical Xpress reports.

The researcher, who’s published extensive research on the topic, believes nature videos change “how we look at the world.” Kelter also argues that it “humbles us, brings into focus our core goals, [and] strengthens our nervous system.”


The study found watching clips of flora and fauna “inspired significant increases in feelings of awe, contentedness, joy, amusement, and curiosity” and coincided with a reduction of “tiredness, anger, and stress.” Face tracking analysis confirmed the participants’ responses.

To conduct the study, Kelter partnered with BBC Earth and surveyed 7,500 people in six countries. Participants shared how they felt before and after watching clips of a popular drama, news broadcasts, and the documentary Planet Earth II.

Kelter said the study suggests “we can turn to other kinds of new social media content to find calm during these highly stressful times.”