Never-ending news feeds, traffic jams and the societal pressure to succeed are, regrettably, omnipresent. But that doesn’t make them any better for the nerves.
However, a robust study done at the University of California, Berkeley with funding from the BBC suggests that a quick antidote is to watch nature videos online.
It’s called the Real Happiness Project, and involved thousands of people from six major global markets being tested on the Perceived Stress Scale — which measures levels of various emotions like fear, rejection, loneliness along with positive feelings like happiness, curiosity and surprise — and then showed those folks short bursts of nature videos.
Of course, those videos just happened to be from the BBC’s very own Planet Earth II, a beautifully shot documentary series that if you haven’t heard of, feel free to crawl out from under your rock and take a peek; it’s delightful.
The findings aren’t surprising to anyone who already finds solace in nature: stress levels drop dramatically when exposed to nature, even if it's on a screen. This follows with what biologist E.O. Wilson termed Biophilia, “the human preference for the beauty of nature,” and is echoed in the the Japanese policy of sending depressed and sick people to “healing forests,” where they’ve documented white blood cell counts and endorphins actually rise.
The effects were only discernible in people over the age of 16, so the only other way to kick the high levels of stress would be to turn back time. If you figure that one out, do let us know.
Otherwise, we hope you enjoy this video of kids watching Planet Earth: