Mindfulness

Streaming David Attenborough on Netflix is the new mindfulness

By Kitty Knowles 7 February 2018
Summary

And nature shows are just as good as meditation, say scientists.

Stunning whale sharks, cute sea lions and poor starving polar bears.

But there might be another reason why 14 million people tuned in to watch the latest series of Blue Planet. And it might surprise you.

Watching nature documentaries is as good for our wellbeing as meditation, scientists have found.

Are you ready to swap your ‘ohms’ for more Attenborough?

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Netflix and (actually) chill

Committing to a period of meditation has no greater impact on your mood than tuning to a nature documentary, new research published in the journal Scientific Reports suggests.

Both activities have positive impacts, but the benefits of meditation are more limited than previously thought, suggest scientists who reviewed more than 20 studies of mindful activities – including documentary watching.

Meditation has the power to make you feel “moderately more compassionate or empathic”, researchers say, but watching nature videos “might produce similar outcomes”.  

We think the study, from scientists at Coventry University in the UK, Massey University in New Zealand, and Radboud University in the Netherlands, certainly means you can justify watching a little more Spring Watch.

And, with Attenborough titles like Blue Planet and Planet Earth available to stream on iPlayer, there’s never been a more literal way to ‘Netflix and chill’.