Feel better by listening

Just listening to stories about nature can make you feel better.
For (more) happiness: a nature story, about short-toed treecreepers, for example. Photo: Shutterstock

Need some cheering up? A quick fix that can make you instantly happier is to listen to a story about nature, master’s student of Biology Mithe van Balen discovered.

How does nature influence human wellbeing? Researchers have pondered this question for some time. It has already been scientifically proven that our sense of happiness is positively impacted by nature. Things related to nature, such as images of nature or nature sounds, have also been shown to make people happier. Biology master’s student Mirte van Balen, who is currently in the final stages of her internship at radio and television programme Vroege Vogels (Early Birds), went one step further. She wanted to know whether listening to stories about nature could make people happier.

Before and after

She sought to answer this question by asking readers of the Nature Today newsletter to complete a survey before and after listening to a fragment from Vroege Vogels. She used three different fragments, randomly distributed among the respondents. All fragments were stripped of the sounds of nature that had previously been added specifically for the radio programme, such as the singing of birds. This enabled her to measure the effect of the stories themselves.

Titillated by the treecreeper

On average, over two thousand respondents reported a more positive feeling after listening to the fragments. A story about the treecreeper’s nesting behaviour generated the most happiness, followed by a fragment of the so-called “Fenolijn” that allows listeners to report their observations. The slightly more earnest third fragment, on how concerns about climate change may cause climate depressions, had a significantly lower uplifting effect.

Want to know more about how nature stories influence your mood? Listen to the aforementioned treecreeper fragment or enjoy the Fenolijn-reports

Also read:

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to write a comment.