Watching Nature Documentaries Makes Us Ridiculously Happy

One of the many laugh-out-loud moments from Planet Earth II that launched a thousand memes. (C) BBC

“What excites me about this study is seeing how Planet Earth II connects with people on a deep emotional level – as a filmmaker that is very rewarding,” said executive producer Mike Gunton. “We're always striving to bring our audiences closer to nature and it's thrilling to see how this can generate such positive emotions and have a powerful impact on our viewer's mood and wellbeing.”

"Look for the..."

The study also involved reviewing 150 existing scientific papers that explored the link between nature and human happiness and wellbeing. Professor Keltner concluded that our connection to nature enhanced our attention, cognitive performance, and sense of calm, making us pro-social, more effective team players, and could even improve our physical well-being.

“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,” Keltner said. “If people experience feelings of awe, they are more likely to display empathetic and charitable behaviors and have been shown to be better able to handle stress.” 

In direct response to the study, BBC Earth has launched The Real Happiness Project, a website where not only will you find lots of happiness-inducing animal clips, but you can personalize your content via a “Happybot” that will tailor animal clips just for you. You create your “happy moment” by answering a short questionnaire via Facebook Messenger and can sign up to a daily or weekly dose of happiness to keep your oxytocin levels up and stress levels down.

Just a swimming sloth, doing its sloth thing.

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