The Happiness Connection  

Boosting happiness through screen time

Nature through the Internet

We might not be experiencing typical summer weather yet, but anyone with younger students living in their household will have no doubt that summer is here.

Having your kids hanging around home more than usual isn’t a bad thing, but it can come with more conversations around screen time, or feelings of loneliness and boredom.

It’s long been established that spending time in nature can boost your level of wellbeing. Not only does it make you feel happier, but the positive emotions that result also tend to last longer than the sense of pleasure that comes from actions like buying something new.

But what if you can’t get outside because you have COVID, your parents are too busy to take you, or nature’s a long way from your door?

BBC Earth is a broadcasting station that airs inspiring stories, documentaries and podcasts about the natural world. They’ve long held the belief that establishing a virtual connection with nature will also provide you with a strong boost of happiness.

In order to prove their theory, they commissioned a global study. With the aid of Professor Dacher Keltner, an expert in the psychology of emotion at the University of California, Berkeley, they set out to prove that watching natural history programs makes you happier.

And they were right. The research showed that positive emotions like joy, contentment, curiosity, awe, amazement, and wonder soared after watching BBC Earth footage, while tiredness, low energy, stress, and anxiety decreased.

So, it turns out that sitting on your sofa watching nature programs is actually good for your health. It boosts your mood and that in turn aids your physical and mental wellbeing.

Although I wanted to share this information with parents who may need a few new tricks up their sleeves while they adjust to having their children at home more during the summer, it’s equally valuable for anyone who’s looking for a boost of happiness.

Using webs, streams, and clouds in the virtual world to reconnect with webs, streams, and clouds in the real world could result in helping you create a happier and more satisfying summer.

The research was carried out with programs from BBC Earth, but any natural history programs will achieve the same end. To make things easier, I’ve included a few links to get you started.

CAUTION: Not all nature programs are suitable for all ages, but there’s suitable natural history content for all ages and levels of sensitivity.

BBC Earth

Scratch your happiness itch

BBC Earth videos

BBC Earth Kids videos

BBC Earth Unplugged videos

“An understanding of the natural world and what’s in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfilment"

David Attenborough

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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