Who’s up for another Attenborough binge?

Credit: Conor McDonnell / WWF-UK

Watching high-quality nature programmes on TV can lift our moods and boost wellbeing.

A University of Exeter study’s found the shows minimise negative feelings such as sadness – and significantly reduce boredom. The researchers think their work could help benefit mental health as lockdown restrictions are tightened.

According to Metro.co.uk, 96 people took part in the study. Researchers made them feel bored by getting them to watch a video of someone describing their work at an office supply company.

They then experienced scenes of an underwater coral reef in one of three different ways. They experienced it on telly, in a VR headset using 360-degree video, or in a VR headset using computer-generated interactive graphics.

They found that all methods minimised negative feelings like sadness.

Dr Mathew White is co-author of the study and in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, explained how the findings could be useful:

“We’re particularly excited by the additional benefits immersive experiences of nature might provide. Virtual reality could help us to boost the wellbeing of people who can’t readily access the natural world, such as those in hospital or in long-term care.”