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Nature videos found lifting positive emotions

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By Philippine News Agency

Watching nature documentary videos appears to reduce stress and lift viewers’ spirits, an effect similar to being out in wild nature.

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Based on online surveys of more than 7,500 people in the United States, United Kingdom, India, Singapore, Australia and South Africa, a new study suggests that the natural world is able to bring up positive emotions.

In the study, led by University of California, Berkeley, psychologist Dacher Keltner, participants reported how they felt before and after viewing clips of “Planet Earth II,” a 2016 multinational nature documentary series produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), popular drama and news coverage.

The results: compared to news, drama and emotionally neutral footage, video clips of the natural world aroused a distinct uptick in feelings of awe, curiosity, joy and amazement and reduced feelings of anger, stress, low energy and tiredness.

“When the BBC approached me about working together, it was a no-brainer,” said Keltner, who has previously published studies on the psychological and physiological effects of nature-inspired awe. “I think their video content inspires green tendencies in viewers.”

Findings of the project, a joint effort by Keltner and BBC Earth known as Real Happiness, were in a seven-page paper posted on BBC’s website.

“I have long believed that nature and viewing sublime and beautiful nature in painting, film and video shifts how we look at the world that humbles us, brings into focus our core goals, diminishes the petty voice of the self and strengthens our nervous system,” Keltner was quoted as saying in a news release from UC Berkeley.

“The results also show that younger people are highly stressed out, and that viewing videos about the natural world reduces their stress, which tells me that we can turn to other kinds of new social media content to find calm during these highly stressful times,” he added.

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