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Even on TV, watching nature would be good for your mood

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If nothing beats nature in real life, watching nature shows, documentaries, and other programs on television may reduce negative emotions, improve mood, and ease the boredom associated with isolation.

This should perhaps comfort those who are concerned about the curfew in terms of mental health, after a confinement that is sometimes difficult to live with.

Watching nature on television has a positive effect on morale, according to a new study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. It could improve mood, decrease negative emotions, and ease boredom associated with inner isolation.

Researchers at the University of Exeter (UK) proceeded here in two stages. They first made 96 participants feel bored by asking them to watch a video in which someone describes their job at an office supply company. The participants were subsequently exposed to images of a coral reef, including:

- on television

- in a virtual reality headset with 360-degree video;

- in a virtual reality headset using interactive computer generated graphics.

Verdict: Regardless of how they were exposed to the coral reef images, participants saw their negative feelings and boredom diminish. However, the computer-managed virtual reality experience led to an increase in positive feelings and reinforced the way people felt connected to nature.

"Our results show that just watching nature on TV can help improve peoples moods and combat boredom. With people around the world facing limited access to outdoor settings due to Covid quarantines. -19, this study suggests that nature television shows may provide an accessible way for people to benefit from a "dose" of digital nature, "said Nicky Yo, lead author of the study, in a statement.

"Virtual reality could help us improve the well-being of people who cannot easily access the natural world, such as those in a hospital or in long-term care," suggested Dr. Mathew White, also a co-author of the study. And the researcher added that "it could also help maintain a deeper connection with nature in healthy populations, a mechanism that can promote more pro-environmental behaviors and inspire people to protect and preserve nature in the real world."

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