Watching 'Planet Earth II' Makes You Happier, Less Tired And More Sociable

Humans have a deep-rooted obsession with the natural world.

Ever since our evolutionary endeavours to find resource-rich environments (that provide optimal food, shelter and comfort), nature has evoked a wealth of positive emotions.

And research has now found that watching nature shows and animal documentaries on television can yield just the same benefits for stress, wellbeing, mental and physical health.

Watching small clips from shows such as Planet Earth II can boost emotions of awe, contentedness, joy and amusement and reduce anxieties, fear, anger and tiredness, a BBC Earth study has found.

The research, conducted in collaboration with the University of California, supports common theories that natural history shows can be inherently rewarding and calming to the nervous system.

As a result, BBC Worldwide have now launched a platform to help bring viewers closer to the natural world and their own well-being.

The service involves a "happybot" tool, which compiles a personalised selection of natural history clips (cute snow foxes, bears scratching their backs, whales etc) tailored just to you.

"We're always striving to bring our audiences closer to nature," Executive producer Mike Gunton said:

"And it's thrilling to see how this can generate such positive emotions and have a powerful impact on our viewer's mood and well-being."

"I hope that in sparking an appreciation of the natural world, Planet Earth II will also encourage people to love and protect the natural world."

The research comes just weeks after Planet Earth II broke viewing figure records with its release in the US (Image: BBC)

The research comes just weeks after Planet Earth II broke viewing figure records with its release in the US (Image: BBC)

The Real Happiness Project involved over 150 studies and 7,500 people from across the world.

Participants were asked about their mood while watching clips from Planet Earth II, dramas and news stories and their reactions were monitored with facial mapping tech and psychometric tests.

Professor Dacher Keltner, from UC Berkley, found that our bond with nature enhances our attention, cognitive performance and sense of calm, making us more social and effective team-workers.

"The shifts in emotion 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," he said.

"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."

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By Matthew Kirby, publish on 09/03/2017