In a COVID-controlled world, many people have resorted to the great outdoors for their fix of wanderlust and nature - and national parks around the globe have become a haven amongst such adventure-starved globetrotters. In fact, according to The Mental Health Organisation, 45% of people found that visiting green spaces helped them cope throughout the pandemic, and a whopping 73% of UK adults claimed that nature helps with mental health management. It also revealed that 70% of those surveyed agreed that being close to nature improves mood, with 49% saying that nature helps them to cope with stress.

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The same investigation also found that greenery in plants and trees can in fact help promote feelings of calm, and is additionally linked to lower rates of depression - a finding that isn't surprising; humans are biophilic with innate instincts that connect with nature, making people feel relaxed and at ease when in the midst of the natural environment.

In turn, this means it's safe to say that venturing off to explore untouched terrains - like tropical islands and national parks - offers unforeseen benefits to mental health, minimizing stress and helping prevent anxiety as a result. But alas, each and every national park around the world is unique in its own way - and there's now actual proof that they're not all equal in terms of their effects on the human body and mind. According to the human eye and the body's response, every national park evokes varying levels of calm, which has been evidenced in a fascinating study by YESSS Electrical.

What Is The Study & How Did They Do It?

YESSS Electrical are the creators and suppliers of sensory and well-being light tool Visualite - a special kind of lighting that illuminates rooms in various settings, including hospitals and healthcare facilities, creating lit scenes of nature and beautiful imagery to enhance the environment and improve the mental health of patients and staff. Amazingly, in surveys, 72% of hospital staff found that Visualite products appeared to calm patients, while 85% of patients themselves said that Visualite helped them feel much calmer and more relaxed in a clinical environment.

Because the company incorporates scenery from national parks amongst its Visualite imagery, it wanted to find out exactly which globally-famed of those are the most calming to humans. As such, they undertook a ground-breaking study in which participants' heart rates were taken whilst they looked at images of national parks - a feat that has finally revealed the discovery of the most relaxing parks of all.

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Importantly so, the national parks selected for use in the study were the ones deemed the most popular across each continent and were chosen based on their official annual visitor numbers. During the investigation, researchers measured the heart rates of 32 participants a grand total of 2,118 times as they gazed at eight different pictures of the 66 most popular national parks across the globe. The results? The discovery of the parks that create the most significant calming effect - and the lower the beat per minute of the person (BPM), the calmer they were. Based on their analysis of these heart rates, the team has unveiled the most calm-inducing national parks around the world - all in order of their BPM.

Official: The 10 Most Calming National Parks In The World

The Peak District National Park, England, UK - 71.2 BMP

England's stunning Peak District National Park in the UK takes the lead as the most calming national park in the world, with the average heart rate of people looking at its scenic vistas being 71.2 BPM. In fact, the Peak District - which attracts over 13 million visitors annually - was the first national park to be established out of the UK's total of 15, and covers a whopping 555 square miles stretching over these five counties: Derbyshire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, and Staffordshire,

Situated right in the beating heart of England, the Peak District is a world-renowned vacation destination that suits all kinds of travelers. History lovers, outdoors enthusiasts, and anglophiles, in general, have so much on offer within its region and can visit many sites of interest in between hiking and soaking up the glorious scenery. There's the Chatsworth House - home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, the Heights of Abraham, the Peak Wildlife Park, and even abundant caves and tunnels to explore - one of which descends 400 meters underground.

Even more impressively, the area's beauty and awe have attracted the attention of major filmmakers, with scenes from the likes of Pride and Prejudice and the Harry Potter movies having been filmed in these fantasy-like parts.

Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA - 73.6 BPM

California's Joshua Tree National Park follows closely in second with an average heart rate of 73.6 BPM. It consists of two separate deserts and is particularly famed for its pretty yucca plant population, incredible hiking trails, and fascinating wildlife - with species such as coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, and black bears thriving within its confines. Covering 1,235 square miles, the park is also officially the second largest National Park in all of California and was the USA's tenth most visited national park in 2020.

With how striking its scenery is, the park has even been portrayed in pop culture over the years; many world-famous artists - including The Eagles - have used the place as a film set. In fact, the band's first album cover Eagles featured the park's scenery, which can be seen in the background.

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The Broads National Park, Norfolk & Suffolk, England, UK - 73.7

Unsurprisingly, the UK takes yet another place on the list with its luscious Broads National Park - also known as the Norfolk Broads. Located in the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads, it came in third place with an average heart rate of 73.7 BPM - a deserving number to say how jaw-dropping the area truly is. In total, the park is made up of 63 broads and 7 rivers and covers approximately 116 square miles, attracting seven million visitors annually who come to enjoy a variety of pastimes, like hiking, boating, wildlife watching, and fishing.

However, it's not really the park's size and fun activity roster that make it a setting of great significance. What many visitors don't know is that it's actually the country's largest protected wetland, hosting important habitats for a diverse array of rare species, such as the extremely elusive swallowtail butterfly - an insect unseen anywhere else on the planet. And that's not all; the park is home to a quarter of the rarest plants and animals in the entire UK, meaning it's a prolific haven for wildlife spotters, scientists, and photographers.

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Tierra del Fuego, Argentina - 74.0 BPM

In fourth place comes Tierra del Fuego National Park in Argentina with an average heart rate of 74 BPM. Nicknamed "the ends of the earth" for its location right at the very end of the South American continent, the park packs a paralyzing punch with its mesmerizing scenery, consisting of cascading waterfalls, mighty mountains, and glistening glacial lakes. And, it's phenomenally bigger than the parks preceding it on this list at a gigantic 8,209 square miles in total.

Despite its nickname, the park's real name translates to "Land of Fire" - a mysterious label said to have been stamped after a local legend told of historic European explorers witnessing flickering fires in the dark upon discovering the island. Today, visitors have a wealth of adventures to enjoy within its expansive lands, such as hiking, kayaking, fishing, and more. Plus, Tierra del Fuego is also guaranteed to tickle the fancies of wildlife fanatics; people can spot an abundance of species, inducing woodpeckers, Patagonian foxes, and a wide range of other mammals.

Zion National Park, Utah, USA - 74.0

Beckoning five million visitors per year, Zion National Park in the USA state of Utah is fifth on the list with an average heart rate of 74 BPM. Boasting a series of majestic waterfalls, 2,000 feet-high cliffs, and mazes of sandstone canyons ripe for exploration, Zion is pure perfection for hikers and even the most discerning of thrill-seekers - particularly rock climbers. What's more, Zion also boasts one of the largest freestanding arches on the planet - the Kolob Arch, extending for an extraordinary 287 feet.

Covering around 229 square miles, Zion was originally carved out by the Virgin River - a natural spectacle of Mother Nature that's over 2,000 feet in depth. Additionally, the park plays host to myriads of animal species, including 79 different mammals, 32 species of amphibians, and 289 species of birds. In fact, the largest flying bird in North America lives here; the California Candor - an impressive animal that shows off an average wingspan of 10 feet.

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Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales, UK - 74.0

Surprise surprise, the UK is victorious again with Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales. Home to some of the most sensational scenery in all of South Wales, it's no wonder participants' heart rates lowered to 74 BPM on average when gawking at its remarkable imagery.

With scenic reservoirs, towering mountains, and kinetic waterfalls, Brecon Beacons - covering 520 square miles with its highest point of Pen y Fan rising to 886 meters - has even caught the attention of Hollywood movie producers; many an iconic film has touched ground here, including the blockbuster-breaking The Dark Knight Rises - pieces of which was filmed at Henrhyd Falls where the tallest waterfall in the whole park puts on a powerful natural show.

Brecon Beacons National Park also promises tons of outdoorsy adventures to its 3.4 million yearly visitors; from hiking trails and beauteous running tracks to gorgeous cycling routes and sweeping photography-worthy panoramas, there's truly something for everyone. And, as an International Dark Sky Reserve, this particularly special place is also one of the world's best stargazing spots thanks to its lack of light pollution.

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Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Wales, UK - 74.0

Knock knock. Who's there? It's the UK again with Pembrokeshire Coast National Park - similarly with its average heart rate of 74 BPM. Another glorious Welsh gem, this park covers most of the picturesque Pembrokeshire coast and spans around 242 square miles. One of the smallest national parks in the UK it may be, but heart-stopping (or rather, slowing) vistas it does deliver; visitors can exclusively enjoy what Geographic Traveller Magazine once rated as one of the top two coastal destinations in the world.

Officially established in 1952, Pembrokeshire National Park showcases diverse terrain, including plenty of cliffs, islands, inland hills, and even some silky sandy beaches that wouldn't look out of place in the sunny tropics. Furthermore, the park additionally offers many man-made attractions perfect for a day out, such as the Oakwood Theme Park and The Blue Lagoon Water Park. If that wasn't enough for the more adventurous visitor, then they can also find their peace by kayaking, sailing, and surfing. On the other hand, should all that be far too exciting, then photographers and wildlife geeks to the park can have fun scoping out the region's profuse species - think rare butterflies, seabirds, and even dolphins frolicking just offshore.

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Durmitor, Montenegro - 74.2

Northern Montenegro's Durmitor National Park takes a modest eighth place on the world's most calming national parks with an average heart rate of 74.2 BPM. Featuring magnificent limestone peaks, 18 glacial lakes, five canyons spread across its 150 square miles, this setting serves the ultimate proliferation of quests for spelunking Indiana Joneses.

It also boasts incredible networks of caves, most notably ‘The Ice Cave" with its eerie ice stalagmites. Folks with fear of heights should take heed though, for Durmitor has 48 enormous peaks in total - all of which are more than 2,000 meters high with the absolute tallest being Bobotov Kuk, reaching a skyrocketing 2,523 meters in total. Not quite impressive enough? Then get this: the park is also the home of Europe's deepest gorge - the Tara River Gorge.

To continue its praise, Durmitor National Park is the largest protected area in Montenegro and has become a popular tourist hotspot amongst the worldwide adventuring community. With hiking, mountaineering, rafting, canoeing, bird-watching, and rare wild critter spotting all on the table, the region has become a playground for the planet's most outdoorsy folk. Plus, between December and March, it also transforms into a winter wonderland to become a major European ski resort each year.

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South Downs National Park, England, UK - 74.4

The UK just can't stop showing off, can it? In ninth place is Southern England's South Downs National Park with an average heart rate of 74.4 BPM, and is also the newest of the designated 15 national parks in England after being officialized in 2010. This national park has been awarded the elite International Dark Sky Reserve status as well thanks to its minimal light pollution and breathtaking nighttime skies - branding it another perfect place for stargazers.

Covering 628 square miles with the highest point rising up to around 271 meters, South Downs offers a broad array of activities to indulge in whilst exploring its enchanting landscapes. Every year, 39 million visitors come to enjoy being at one with nature here, partaking in the likes of hiking, photography, horse-riding across the many bridal ways, and also wildlife-spotting.

Furthermore, the most demanding of nature-lovers will be in their element whilst searching for a range of rare species found in the park, such as the scarcely-seen Adonis butterfly. Also, visitors should make sure to check out South Down's most famous feature: its chalk grassland, which is one of the most striking natural attractions in the park's entirety.

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The National Park of Snowdonia, Wales, UK - 74.6

Last but not least, the UK does it again; the National Park of Snowdonia situated in North Wales wins tenth place with an average heart rate of 74.6 BPM. World-famed and utterly spectacular, Snowdonia has the highest mountain in Wales - Snowdon - which rises up from the land to reach a mind-boggling 3,560 feet. Of the park's 10 million annual visitors, the mountain of Snowdon sees around 350,000 of them who come to challenge its summit every single year - a figure that earns it its ranking as one of the country's most popular peaks.

However, the massive mountain doesn't take all the credit; Snowdonia is in fact home to nine mountain ranges covering about 52% of the national park, allowing for plenty more climbing and hiking escapades with varying difficulty levels. Plus, the park also boasts the largest lake in all of Wales - Bala Lake - spanning exactly 1.87 square miles.

In addition, the park is as popular as it is old; granted its status in 1951, Snowdonia is indeed Wales’ longest established national park - and is also the UK's third-largest at 823 square miles. Finally, as an added bonus, within its vastness lies a plethora of species to excite lovers of all things wildlife; think wild ponies, dolphins, and even the park's very own beetle - the Rainbow Beetle.

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