These TV Shows Are Scientifically Proven to Cure Your Boredom

You can watch one of these series when you're feeling less-than-motivated.

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Boredom hits everyone at different times, but it's been especially prevalent during the isolating coronavirus pandemic. And while everyone knows a good trip outside can bring about a more positive mood and cure some of those listless feelings, it's not always easy to do that, especially when you're staying socially distant. Fortunately, new research concluded that you can get back in touch with nature without ever having to leave your house. In fact, a recent study has found that watching nature TV shows can actually cure boredom. Read on to find out more about the study, and for more ways to boost your mood, try these Fascinating Fast Facts for When You're Bored.

The study, published Oct. 14 in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, was led by researchers at the University of Exeter. These researchers had nearly 100 participants watch a boring video where a person described their work at an office supply company. After the video, researchers showed the participants scenes of an underwater coral reef to to see how their fatigue and sadness levels changed.

Feelings of sadness and boredom were significantly minimized in every participant, no matter their viewing format. Some of the participants watched these scenes through regular television, while the others used a virtual reality (VR) headset with 360-degree video or a VR headset with computer-generated graphics.

"Our results show that simply watching nature on TV can help to lift people's mood and combat boredom," Nicky Yeo, BSc, the lead researcher and a PhD student at the University of Exeter, said in a press statement. "With people around the world facing limited access to outdoor environments because of COVID-19 quarantines, this study suggests that nature programs might offer an accessible way for populations to benefit from a 'dose' of digital nature."

According to Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, a Harvard-trained clinical psychologist based in New York City, nature is a mood booster because "it literally changes your body chemistry."

"Taking in fresh air and exercising increases oxygen, endorphin, and serotonin levels in the brain—leading to positive alterations in mood," she says. "Combined, these effects lead to the experience of 'runner's high' and contribute long-term relaxation and tranquility. Additionally, humans tend to possess an instinctive emotional attachment to other living organisms. These connections are satisfied when immersed in nature"

However, as the study shows, Romanoff says you don't necessarily need to actually be in nature to feel these effects.

"The real experience of being immersed in nature strongly implicates neural connections and positive alterations in mood. When this is not available, virtual nature is able to tap into these processes through analogous visual experiences and memories," she explains. "Therefore, virtual nature mimics the effects of immersion in physical nature."

And while the researchers specifically showed scenes from the Blue Planet II series produced by BBC Natural History, the study concludes that any nature program could likely bring about the same results. Keep reading for some nature series you can stream now, and for more ways TV can help you, Doing This After Watching TV Slashes Your Risk of Divorce, Study Says.

1
Our Planet

our planet tv series sceenshot
Netflix

Our Planet on Netflix takes viewers to 50 countries, showing the various ecosystems across Earth. And for more series to stream, these are The Best Netflix Shows Ever, According to Critics.

2
The Crocodile Hunter

the crocodile hunter series
NBC

Who can pass up watching Steve Irwin doing what he did best? This beloved nature show has five seasons streaming on Hulu. And for more beloved celebs we miss, discover What Alex Trebek Wanted for His Last Jeopardy! Episode.

3
Night on Earth

night on earth series
Netflix

This fascinating new series uses advanced technology to capture animals' lives at night, and is streaming on Netflix. And for more on our animal friends, check out these 25 Adorable Animals That Mate for Life.

4
Gathering Storm

gathering storms tv show
Disney

You can catch Gathering Storm on Disney+. The show takes a look at some of the planet's fiercest storms through the experience of those who work at sea. And for more on some extreme storms, here are Hurricane Facts to Put You in Awe of Mother Nature.

5
72 Dangerous Animals

72 dangerous animals series
Netflix

This Netflix series may not be as calming as some of the others, but if you're looking for a more exciting glimpse of nature, this is it. The show looks at dangerous creatures and how they stack up against other predators. And for more scary animals, The Deadliest Animal to Humans in the World Will Shock You.

6
Life Below Zero

life below zero tv show
Disney

This Disney+ show goes behind the scenes of those living deep in Alaska as they fight the freeze and brave the wild, with temperatures venturing far below zero. And for more useful content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

7
Drain the Oceans

drain the oceans tv series
Disney

If you like learning about shipwrecks and what lies way down deep, Drain the Oceans is streaming on Disney+. This show exposes sunken cities, shipwrecks, and other wonders below the ocean water. And for more on the ocean, check out these Mind-Blowing Facts About the Earth's Oceans.

Kali Coleman
Kali is an assistant editor at Best Life. Read more
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