It may seem perplexing to some, but in the twenty-first century more people than ever before spend much of their lives indoors. Whether this is due to the rise of the internet age, or a global aversion to bracing extreme weather is open to debate, but what cannot be argued is that if given the choice, most of us will stay sheltered in our homes.
Yet, despite this, being at one with nature is proven to have many psychological benefits. Scientists have long believed that nature affects everyone’s moods, making them feel more grounded and peaceful.
According to researcher David Strayer, of the University of Utah, being at one with nature increases our emotional health. This has been observed through changes in our body and brain chemistry.
Here are just some of the positive effects that nature has on our psychological well-being and why observing nature videos for a short period can rejuvenate and restore the soul.
Nature Decreases Stress
What’s apparent in the present world we live is that stress and anxiety are epidemic. Juggling work and family life, deadlines, financial worries and health concerns all play their part in the smog of anxiety that some of us wade through every single day.
A recent study in Japan invited participants to walk through a forest whilst their heart rate variability and blood pressure was. Participants completed three questionnaires before undertaking the task each to find out their moods, stress levels and psychological measures taken to make sure sound mental health.
What the study found was that those that immersed themselves in nature reported better moods, lower heart rate and higher heart variables, which indicated increased relaxation and reduced stress.
So, before you dismiss those nature 4K screensavers, feeling that they will have little positive effect on your health, why not try one out yourself? You’ll be surprised by the positive effects they can have.
Nature Increases Creativity and Relieves Fatigue
With technology ubiquitous in the modern world, every single day we’re bombarded by apps, websites and game consoles, to name but a few, vying for our attention.
Leading scientists believe that this technological ‘assault’ has a negative effect on our mental health as our brain’s simple aren’t hardwired to absorb this amount of information daily. This results in mental fatigue and eventually a technological burnout.
Did you know that every single time you use your iPhone to talk, text, send photos or check the latest news stories you’re using the prefrontal cortex of your brain and causing a reduction in cognitive resources?
In a recent study, conducted by Peter Aspinall at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, participants took a stroll through green spaces. An electroencephalogram (EEG) machine monitored brain activity throughout the process. The study found that participants had decreased engagement and arousal, higher meditative qualities and lower frustration when immersed in nature.
Peter Aspinall concluded that nature – and by extension nature videos – encourage a more open, meditative mindset, allowing for attention restoration.
Nature Can Encourage You to Be More Kind and Generous
Perhaps the most influential aspect that nature has one our psyche is that it helps us to get back to basics – to our roots. Whether walking through a lush forest or spending just a few moments away from your daily routine and meditating with the help of 4K screensavers, it cannot be argued that a feeling of tranquillity emits from our chest and throughout our body.
What you may not know is that nature videos and stepping into the great outdoors is proven to make anyone more kind and generous. When you feel at one with nature you naturally feel gratitude for “Mother Earth”.
In a series of experiments at the University of California, Berkeley, Juyoung Lee and Dacher Keltner, and additional researchers, found that nature impacts us in such a way that it prompts us to feel more generous, trusting and helpful to others.
One element of the study asked participants to fill out a survey about their emotions whist sitting at a table with beautiful plants. Lee and Keltner discovered that the more plants were at the table, the more positive and generous participants answers were.
Another element of the study involved allowing participants to view nature scenes. Afterward a period, participants then played two separate games – The Dictator Game and The Trust Game – each of which measures trust and generosity. What the researchers discovered was startling. The more beautiful the nature scene, the more generous and trusting participants – increasing positive emotions.
It’s evident that nature videos positively affect our perception, mood and behaviour – making us feel happy, creative, energised, and, quite simply, more alive.