Why looking at the stars or a rainbow is good for the brain

Why looking at the stars or a rainbow is good for the brain

The connection to nature plays on the mind, according to a study conducted in England on 2,500 volunteers.

Admiring sunrises or sunsets contributes to our happiness. A British study says so. To find out how these ephemeral natural phenomena of everyday life affect our minds, researchers from the University of Exeter, England, mobilized 2,500 volunteers.

They installed them in front of computer screens and showed them short films representing urban or natural landscapes, such as, for example, a hilly landscape with a lake or a panoramic view of buildings against the sky… After these standard landscapes, the researchers added very elaborate filters to simulate a sunset or sunrise, a starry sky or the presence of a rainbow.

“Wow effect”

Participants were then asked to describe their well-being in front of these images. On a scale of one to ten, they were asked to indicate whether the aesthetics of the landscape influenced their morale, by creating feelings of fullness, admiration, gratitude or, on the contrary, indifference or even fear. Result: there is a “wow effect” of sunsets or sunrises, as well as of rainbows. These natural phenomena bring us a breath of well-being, at any age. Even better: the participants were even willing to pay to experience these shows in real life. Note that the vision of a starry sky also creates a feeling of well-being, but it is a little less strong. The “wow” effect of the starry sky is comparable, according to the study, to that of a clear blue sky.

These studies confirm that the connection to nature has an effect on the mind and that it is important to take this into account for oneself, but also in urban planning. More than a hundred scientific publications have already made the link between better mental health (less depression and stress) and the proximity of green space (trees) or blue space (seas, rivers or lakes)… We can now add the benefit for health and morale of clear views of the horizon and the sky.