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Watching A Lot Of David Attenborough Helps With Anxiety and Stress

Watching A Lot Of David Attenborough Helps With Anxiety and Stress

We knew watching David daily was good for the soul, but we had no idea it could be positive for our actual mental health, too.

Ciara Sheppard

Ciara Sheppard

We challenge anyone to sit though a David Attenborough documentary without feeling inner fuzziness and coming off with an undeniable sense of serene calm.

The broadcaster's dulcet tones paired with the wholesome nature content mean his film's have become our go-to for trembling hangovers and the antidote to particularly stressful days.

Now, new research has proved just how good a daily dose of Dave can be for our mental health as well as our soul.

Watching shows can significantly reduce our boredom and negative mood (

New research from the University of Exeter has found that watching television nature programmes, such as those narrated by the 94-year-old, can improve our mental health by lifting our spirits and boosting moods.

The research sought to look at how consuming nature shows through three different methods - virtual reality, 360 degrees video and standard TV - can affect our stress, anxiety and boredom.

Researchers tested 96 subjects, beginning by inducing feelings of boredom by asking them to watch a video in which a person describes their work at an office supply company.

After induced boredom, viewers were played coral reef scenes from Blue Planet II (

The participants were then played a series of coral reef scenes from BBC's Blue Planet II, hosted by Attenborough and as a result, subjects were found to have "reduced boredom and negative affect and increased positive affect and nature connectedness".

Researchers found that all viewing methods reduced boredom and minimised negative feelings such as sadness, while only virtual reality was found to lead to increases in positive feelings such as happiness.

"There is growing evidence that direct contact with, and psychological connectedness to, the natural world can support a variety of health and wellbeing outcomes," says the study.

Nature or psychological connectedness to the natural world is shown to boost our mood (

"There is evidence that psychological connectedness to the natural world, over and above direct contact, is associated with positive subjective wellbeing; higher levels of nature connectedness positively correlates with happiness, positive affect, vitality and life satisfaction."

Dr Mathew White, co-author of the study, said: "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.

"But it might also help to encourage a deeper connection to nature in healthy populations, a mechanism which can foster more pro-environmental behaviours and prompt people to protect and preserve nature in the real world."

So there you have it: if the current state of the world suddenly feels a bit suffocating, just pop on some classic Attenborough for instant relief.

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Topics: Science, TV News, david attenborough, Life