Let Sir David’s wildlife docs ease the mental strain of a tough day in the urban jungle
Here at Men’s Health we’ve never been advocates of the stiff upper lip. So far as we’re concerned, a good vent to a trusted ally – whether during your Sunday run or over a post-work pint – is a far healthier and more effective strategy for mood improvement than simply keeping calm and carrying the hell on.
But we’re also aware that not every onerous day warrants an hour-long dissection. Even an emotionally evolved man such as yourself will sometimes fare better with a little time of one’s own. So, the next time life’s stresses seem to be getting the better of you, we’d like to offer another pleasingly British solution: a few minutes spent in the company of Sir David Attenborough.
For a recent study, Professor Dacher Keltner, an expert in the science of emotion at the University of CaliforniaBerkeley, asked thousands of volunteers to report on how they felt before and after viewing short clips of BBC nature documentaries. Compared to news stories, drama or ‘emotionally neutral footage’, nature shows were shown to inspire greater feelings of joy and contentedness, while reducing fatigue and anxiety. Better yet, results were observed after just three minutes’ viewing. It seems the well-documented cognitive benefits of the great outdoors are also accessible to the man unwilling to leave his sofa. (Though, for more permanent mood improvements, we’d advise venturing out as some point, too.)
So, whether you’re marvelling at mother nature or absorbing yourself in the epic thriller that is ‘ Iguana vs Snakes’, you’d do well to tune in when urban environs are wearing you down. It is, after all, a jungle out there.