Did you know that pointless internet scrolling can help reduce stress levels? While negativity on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have been linked with anxiety and depression, the rest of the internet isn’t that bad. If you like to lay in bed at night and thumb through videos, funny Tik-Tok and vines especially of animals, you’d be helping your brain become calmer.
According to a new study, watching cute animal videos might be helpful for you. A report suggests these videos can help reduce stress levels by up to 50%. The study conducted by the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, in partnership with Western Australia Tourism, was published on firststopsingapore.
The group found evidence suggesting that a few minutes of watching cute animals may reduce stress and anxiety. The volunteers in the study were subjected to thirty minutes of cute animals (images and videos) and its effects on their blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety were measured.
One of the lead scientists, Dr Andrea Utley created this thirty-minute montage of cuteness. “There were some kittens, there were puppies, there were baby gorillas. There were quokkas. You know — the usual stuff that you would expect,” she told CNN.
The Quokka, a western Australian native, is often called the ‘happiest animal in the world’. This is in part of its face that looks like a perpetual smile.
The original research was conducted in December 2019. It had nineteen volunteers- fifteen students and four staff. It was conducted in December because the winter exams are a significantly stressful time, especially for medical students.
In every single case, the blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety went down after thirty minutes of watching these videos. There was an average 6.5% reduction in heart rates whereas a significant 35% reduction in anxiety. The blood pressure of all candidates dropped to “ideal pressure range”.
While heart rate and BP are easy to measure with devices, calculating anxiety is the tricky part. For this, the volunteers measured their anxiety through a self-assessment method often used in clinical settings to diagnose anxiety known as the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. The study also revealed that most people preferred videos over still photographs, especially with animals and human interactions.
So, if you are feeling stressed and have thirty minutes to spare, fire up YouTube.