Not that you really need an excuse to watch Planet Earth – it’s great – but there’s been some interesting research that shows it’s actually good for you. You know, like exercise, kale and dough balls.
A study conducted by BBC Earth and the University of Carolina looked into the effect that watching nature documentaries had on human beings. Turns out it has a good effect, which is nice. What they did was grab a load of volunteers and use facial mapping technology to monitor their faces whilst they watched a number of different TV shows.
It turns out that women experienced a stronger reaction to the nature documentaries – Planet Earth II in particular – and those aged from 16 to 24 felt more of a reduction in feelings such as nervousness and fatigue. Aside from that, nearly all the participants were seen to experience awe, joy, contentment and enthusiasm, while noticing waning levels of anxiety, stress and tiredness.
Professor Dacher Keltner of the University of California told PRNewswire: “The 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 behaviours and have been shown to be better able to handle stress."
The study found that “exposure” to nature documentaries causes “Enhanced attention, focus and cognitive performance” and “decreases stress and enhances calm”. So basically, if you’re going to binge on something, binge on Planet Earth, because it will make you live to 100.