Science Says Watching PLANET EARTH II Blu-ray Makes You Happy

Pharrell Williams has nothing on BBC America’s PLANET EARTH II.  A team of scientists has shown that watching nature programs like PLANET EARTH II can lead to an increase in positive emotions including awe, contentedness, joy and amusement.  The research also found substantial decreases in emotions such as nervousness, anxiety, fear, stress and tiredness.  It’s no wonder, PLANET EARTH II, the landmark television series narrated by Sir David Attenborough, is filled with incredible filming, immersive landscapes, and incredible insights into the animals that occupy our planet.  The home edition is available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, as well as Blu-ray and DVD, and contains every episode of the series as well as 10 minute bonus clips at the end of each episode of behind-the-scenes footage. Continue reading for more details on the PLANET EARTH II home edition as well as details on the why it makes you happy.


Sloths are adept swimmers, as this pygmy three-toed sloth demonstrates. Found only on the tiny island of Escudo de Veraguas, Panama, the pygmy sloth is the smallest of all sloth species and is considered endangered © 2016 BBC

“The Real Happiness Project” was conducted with Dr. Dacher Keltner, co-director of the Greater Good Science Center and a professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley.  Keltner previously consulted with Disney•Pixar during the creation of INSIDE OUT, a film imagining the mind and emotions of a 12 year old girl.  During Keltner’s work with the BBC, participants were asked to rate their mood before watching video clips.  The audience watched clips of a popular drama, a reel of recent news stories, and PLANET EARTH II.  Real-time responses to the footage was captured using facial mapping technology and participants were asked to assess the impact on their mood and outlook after watching the footage.


Penguins courting at sunset, Zavodovksi island, South Sandwich islands, Antarctica. Zavodovski hosts the world’s biggest penguin colony – more than 1.5 million breeding adults © 2016 BBC

The BBC study found participants watching PLANET EARTH II clips showed:

  • Significant increases in feelings of awe, amazement, wonder; curiosity, interest and wanting to explore; joy, excitement and enthusiasm; contentment, relaxation and peacefulness; amusement, having fun and laughing.
  • Significant decreases in nervousness, anxiety and fear; stress and overburden; anger and irritability; tiredness, fatigue and low energy.
  • Keltner concluded, when tested against a control group, the results above were due watching natural history content.

Dr. Keltner commented, “the shifts in emotion demonstrated in the BBC study as a result of watching this powerful natural history series are significant as we know that wonder and contentment are the foundations of human happiness. If people experience feelings of awe, they are more likely to display empathetic and charitable behaviors and have been shown to be better able to handle stress.”


There are may be as few as 3500 snow leopards left in the wild. They are famously illusive and difficult to film and have become increasingly threatened by climate change and human disturbance © 2016 BBC

The BBC study adds to a growing body of scientific evidence that a connection to nature is of fundamental importance to a person’s health, happiness and well-being.  Access to nature (even filmed footage and imagery) can help people manage the stress of modern living.  A connection to nature has multiple positive effects on outlook and behavior prompting the BBC to launch The Real Happiness Project aiming to promote the benefits of connectivity with nature that can begin with just a laptop, TV or smartphone.


Male glass frog from in Costa Rica © 2016 BBC

So pick up the home edition of PLANET EARTH II, the highest-rated nature show in the US, now, get happier by watching the series, and use it to inspire you to get outside and connect with the natural world around you. In addition to Blu-ray and DVD, for the first time ever BBC Home Entertainment created a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with High Dynamic Range (HDR) for brighter and more life-like colors. PLANET EARTH II had 17 filming firsts from documenting snow leopard behavior to chinstrap penguin fishing trips.

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About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.