Here at Men's Health we’ve never been advocates of just sucking it up. So far as we’re concerned, a good vent to a trusted ally – whether during your Sunday run or over a post-work beer – 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 on one’s own. So, the next time life’s stresses seem to be getting the better of you, we’d like to offer another 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 California-Berkeley, asked thousands of volunteers to report on how they felt before and after viewing short clips of 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 enhancement, we’d advise venturing out at some point, too.)
So, whether you’re marveling 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 sending you spiraling towards a breakdown. It is, after all, a jungle out there.