Have you ever noticed how watching videos of underwater scenes, with colorful fish and coral reefs, can make you feel relaxed? Scientists have come up with several ideas to explain why this happens. Let’s explore the top 10 theories behind effect of sea-life & nature videos on stress.

Number 1: Stress Relief Theory (Ulrich, 1983): Ulrich came up with the theory that being in nature can help us relax and lower stress. Watching videos of sealife can make us feel more relaxed because they make us happy and distract us from things that stress us out. Imagine feeling the tension melt away as you immerse yourself in the vibrant colors of coral reefs or the mesmerizing movements of dolphins gliding through the water. It’s like taking a mental vacation to a tranquil underwater paradise, leaving the worries of the world behind.

Number 2: Biophilia Theory (Wilson, 1984): E.O. Wilson, a biologist, had this theory called the biophilia Theory. It says that people have a natural pull towards nature and living things. So, when we watch videos of sea creatures, it can make us feel calm and happy because it taps into this instinct. Imagine sitting by a window watching birds chirp or feeling serene while strolling through a forest. That’s the biophilia idea at work, reminding us that we’re connected to the natural world in ways we might not always realize.

Number 3: Focus and Calmness Techniques (Kabat-Zinn, 1990): Kabat-Zinn talks about mindfulness, which is all about being fully present in the moment. Watching sea-life videos can be a form of mindfulness practice, as we immerse ourselves in the beauty and serenity of marine life. It’s like gently guiding our thoughts to the rhythmic dance of ocean currents, finding stillness and serenity in the depths below.

Number 4: Stress Recovery Theory (Hartig et al., 1991): This theory says that spending time in natural places helps us bounce back from stress and mental tiredness. Sea-life videos act as a window to peaceful underwater worlds, offering us a digital escape to unwind and recharge. It’s like pressing pause on life’s demands and diving into a soothing sea of tranquility, where stress melts away with each passing wave.

Number 5: Psychology of Evolution (Tooby & Cosmides, 1992): This psychology theory says that some of the things we like and do are because they helped our ancestors survive and have babies. When we watch videos of sea life, it’s like tapping into this ancient part of our brains that finds comfort and relaxation in natural settings. So, next time you find yourself mesmerized by the graceful movements of sea creatures on screen, remember, it’s not just entertainment—it’s a deep-seated connection to our evolutionary past.

Number 6: Nature Restoring Attention Theory (Kaplan, 1995): This theory by Kaplan says that being around nature, even if it’s just through videos, can help our brains recharge and feel less tired. So, when we watch videos of the ocean with its peaceful scenes, it’s like giving our minds a break from all the busyness, and we feel refreshed. It’s like pressing the reset button for our attention. After all, who hasn’t felt a wave of calmness wash over them while gazing at the gentle sway of underwater plants or the graceful dance of fish?

Number 7: Brain and Beauty Study (Zeki, 2001): Zeki’s study delves into how our brains react to things that are beautiful or pleasing. Sea-life videos, with their stunning visuals and graceful movements, can light up parts of our brains that make us feel good. It’s like a little spark of joy igniting inside us as we watch the mesmerizing dance of underwater creatures, contributing to our overall happiness.

Number 8: Nature-Inspired Design Ideas (Kellert et al., 2008): These design ideas are all about bringing nature into our homes and workplaces to make us feel better. Sea-life videos fit right into this concept. They show us the beauty of underwater worlds, with all their vibrant colors and diverse creatures. When we watch these videos, it’s like bringing a piece of the ocean into our lives, making us feel more connected to nature and happier as a result.

Number 9: Making Surroundings Better Theory (Schneider, 2009): Schneider’s theory talks about making things around us better to make us feel happier and more balanced. When we watch videos of sea life, it’s like giving our senses a treat. These videos are full of interesting sights and sounds, making us feel curious and engaged. It’s like adding a splash of color and excitement to our day.

Number 10: Ocean Happiness Idea (Nichols, 2014): Nichols suggests that being near water, like oceans or lakes, can make us feel better mentally and emotionally. Watching sea-life videos can have a similar effect by bringing the calming essence of aquatic environments right into our homes. It’s like dipping our toes into a mental oasis, where worries ebb away with the tide, leaving us feeling refreshed and serene.

Watching videos of underwater scenes has a special way of calming our minds. Whether it’s feeling connected to nature, getting a mental break, or simply enjoying the beauty of marine life, there are many reasons why these videos make us feel good. If you’d like to test these theories on yourself, please check out videos below, which feature soothing footage of sea life and nature.

Next: Scientists who predicted their death date


  • Wilson, Edward O. Biophilia. Harvard university press, 1986. [Book]
  • Kawabata, Hideaki, and Semir Zeki. “Neural correlates of beauty.” Journal of neurophysiology 91, no. 4 (2004): 1699-1705. [Article]

By The Research Mind

We, researchers from the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge, are dedicated to sharing the latest updates, breakthroughs, and even the occasional blunders in Science & Technology. Stay tuned for some truly mind-blowing science experiments!

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