Everyone at my office jokes about the media videos in the elevator that give you 10 second snapshots of the news and weather along with advertisements and other tidbits. The joke is this: If you saw it on the elevator, it must be true. This morning on my short ride up four floors there was a caption stating “Ahh Moment” and it displayed a scenic view of California wine country. There were green hills with blue sky and sunshine in the background, grape vines midway and a pool with chairs in the foreground. No living beings in the picture at all. I am not sure if these things are timed for Monday morning or at the end of the day or whatever time the media gods deem it appropriate for one to need a mental break from the office. The purpose of this picturesque landscape was to make the viewer feel better or in my case wistful that I was in an elevator and not in California wine country.
There is scientific evidence that exposure to nature has positive effects on well being. But does this also apply to pictures of nature? In the September 2011 newsletter The Dirt, Dr. Berman of the University of Michigan indicates that viewing pictures of nature in a quiet room relieves stress and boosts cognitive performance after as little as a 10 minutes. Viewing the nature pictures was even more effective than taking a walk in the city. I believe him. I did feel better. And besides that, I saw it on the elevator so it must be true.