Tag Archives: animals

Anxiety and fear give way to joy and awe when we tune into scenes of the natural world

Anxiety and fear give way to joy and awe when we tune into scenes of the natural world, finds a study commissioned by BBC, makers of “Planet Earth II.” from Watching nature documentaries boosts happiness, says study | MNN – Mother Nature Network

There’s a lot of research tracking and measuring the benefits of engaging with nature, and much of it is done using video, TV and other kinds of images. This is the first time I’ve seen research of this kind commissioned by a specific TV show  and the results are very interesting. They also back up my own theory of technobiophilia, “the innate attraction to life and lifelike processes as they appear in technology“.

BBC Earth commissioned a multi-country online quantitative study to examine the impact of watching natural history content on viewers’ emotions. This was conducted in partnership with an international panel company, with data collected and weighted to be nationally representative in each country. Respondents viewed one of five clips: two from Planet Earth II, one from a popular drama, one montage of news coverage, and one control video. The hypothesis was that watching content from Planet Earth II could improve the sensation of positive emotions and reduce the sensation of negative emotions. The study found a range of significant results evidencing not only that watching content from Planet Earth II inspired significant increases in feelings of awe, contentedness, joy, amusement and curiosity, but that it also acted to reduce feelings of tiredness, anger and stress. In the majority of cases, changes in emotions were caused by the type of content viewed, and significantly different from the control group. Our findings therefore support the conclusion that viewing Planet Earth II inspires positive changes in emotions that are distinct to the natural history genre.

From: EXPLORING THE EMOTIONAL STATE OF ‘REAL HAPPINESS’. A STUDY INTO THE EFFECTS OF WATCHING NATURAL HISTORY TELEVISION CONTENT. Download
Dacher Keltner, Richard Bowman, and Harriet Richards. University of Berkeley, California; BBC Worldwide Global Insight Team

Just in case you don’t believe it, test yourself with this cute aardvark movie.

 

 

 

People love watching nature on nest cams — until it gets grisly

In The Washington Post this week:

The osprey cam at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is trained on a nest near the Massachusetts seaside, and the pair that call it home are now waiting for three eggs to hatch. But for the first spring in a decade, the camera is dark, and a note on the institute’s website offers only a two-sentence explanation.

“Regrettably, the cam will not be operating this season due to the increasingly aggressive actions of certain viewers the last two years,” it begins.  (Read whole article)

I wrote about this issue two years ago in The Conversation, ‘Webcam bird rescue shows how quickly our attraction to nature can turn sour‘. Then it was bald eagles in Minnesota, now it’s ospreys in Massachusetts. The problem is that people who enjoy watching birds and animals via webcams want to see only cute images.

Last month, according to The Post, “a Pittsburgh cam’s bald eagles made national news when they fed a small cat to their eaglets”. Oh dear, that really doesn’t match audience expectations.  It seems that many of us love nature, but only when it’s pretty.

4 Ways To Connect To Your Body (3 x Human, 1 x Dog)

Let’s all get some BarkPoints!

There’s something deeply enjoyable about working online – you feel connected to other people, to your machine, to the vastness of the internet. Don’t know about you, but I can get a real buzz from just sitting at my desk for hours. Typing, Skyping, messaging, writing – the day flies by. BUT. While our minds zoom around in cyberspace, our poor bodies are stuck in a chair for way too long.

That’s why this week I’ve gathered together a few items to help you connect back to your arms, legs, and other fleshy parts. I’m sure your body will thank you for it! So, stand up straight, pay attention to your stressed-out heart, enjoy a walk in the fresh air and, while you’re at it, take the dog with you. All these activities (even the pooch’s) can be monitored and measured so you’ll have plenty of juicy data to play with when you get back. Up you get!

UP24 by Jawbone Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracking Wristband for iOS and Android

I wore one of the earliest UP wristbands for about a year. It tracked my wanderings around the neighbourhood and measured the ups and downs of my sleep. Not only was I wearing something beautifully blue and stylish but I learned a huge amount about my movements.

It didn’t take long before I had a good idea of the distances I walked (or didn’t walk), information which encouraged me to go further than I may have done otherwise. It vibrates to let you know if you’ve been sitting around for too long, but that’s quite pleasant and nicer than a dig in the ribs or a noisy alarm.

In my experience, especially if you’re new to fitness trackers, an UP wristband is definitely worth a try. And it comes in different vibrant colours and sizes, so it looks cool too.

Lumo Lift Posture Coach and Activity Tracker (requires the free Lumo Lift iOS/Android* app)

Lumo Lift

Posture is an important but often forgotten part of our daily lives, say Lumo. With plenty going on in our hectic and busy schedules, it can be a real challenge to practice the mindfulness needed to identify and correct poor posture. With Lumo Lift you can get gentle vibrational reminders for your posture whenever you slouch. Track your posture hours, steps taken, distance travelled and calories burned through the companion iOS, Android or Windows Desktop Lumo Lift app.

The Lumo Lift is a small, lightweight device that is worn just below your collarbone for posture coaching and activity tracking. Using angle displacement as a measure, its biomechanics let you know when you’re slouching with a gentle vibration as a reminder to straighten back up.

FitBark Dog Activity Monitor, Red

FitBark

FitBark, they say, are on a mission to get dogs and humans healthy together. It makes sense. There’s plenty of research to show that it’s good for humans to spend time with animals, so if both are also tracking their activity that seems like a double whammy of benefits!

But seriously, FitBark is “a beautiful sensor that monitors your dog’s daily activity and sleep and turns it into BarkPoints, so you can track progress. It’s a new way to keep your dog (and you!) healthy, explain changes in behavior, make better decisions with your vet, and share memorable moments with friends & family.” Available in 5 colours.

Let’s all get some BarkPoints.

PIP – White – Stress Management Biosensor + Apps. Measure, understand and manage stress

PIP Stress Management Biosensor (White or Black)

I’ve tried out the PIP myself and I really enjoyed it. See my article Changing a landscape with the power of your mind is hugely relaxing.  Since 2014, when that was written, the company has produced more apps for the PIP, including a Personal Stress Management Tracker and Clarity, for body scanning, mantras and counting the breath.

The company claims that Pip can train you to better manage everyday stress by detecting electrodermal activity (EDA) in your fingertips to accurately determine when your body’s relaxing or stressing. It uses to biofeedback to teach you how to visualise stress and try different techniques to learn to control it.

You need to download the free apps in order to use it, and they’re available for both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. I found it very helpful, so it comes with my personal recommendation.