Fun Ways to Reduce Stress: Watching Cute Animals May Reduce Stress Levels Up to 50 Percent by 30Seconds Health
Ahead of World Animal Day on October 4, 2020, new research has suggested that simply watching videos of cute animals can be good for your health. Really!
The study involved 15 students from the University of Leeds who were preparing to sit an exam later that day, as well as four academic support staff who had declared they were feeling stressed at work. The participants were asked to view images and watch videos of cute animals for a total of 30 minutes. The research recorded incredibly positive results across the board:
- The average of group blood pressure fell from a pre-high state of hypertension to a healthier reading in line with "normal" levels.
- The anxiety levels within the group reduced by an average of 35 percent, with some individuals experiencing a fall of almost 50 percent.
- The heart rates of some participants reduced by as much as 24 percent from 90bpm to 68bpm.
The partnership between the University of Leeds and Tourism Western Australia came about from the "world’s happiest animal," the quokka, being a native species of Western Australia. Researchers were keen to explore whether these cute animals and others could have beneficial effects for our mental health and physical health.
With the study proving highly effective at reducing stress in anxious participants, the University of Leeds will be offering students the opportunity to watch the relaxing animal content ahead of future exams, after collecting University departmental award wins for student care.
“The study results are a fantastic reminder that we benefit massively from exploring and enjoying the natural world," said Elen Thomas, UK Market Manager for Tourism Western Australia. "The huge improvement seen in the mood and health of the participants is remarkable and a clear sign that wildlife experiences are important for our well-being.”
“It was clear that students were anxious ahead of their exams, with heart rates and blood pressure for most participants mildly elevated before our session took place," said Dr. Andrea Utley, a researcher involved in the study. "Indeed, in some individuals, heart rate and blood pressure were even higher, indicating a higher level of stress for those participants. Throughout the course of the session, heart rates and blood pressure fell across all individuals to a level that would be considered healthy and indicative of limited stress or anxiety.”
Anxiety levels were also found to drop during the session, with one participant becoming so relaxed they almost fell asleep. Another also commented on how the "smiling" quokkas helped him feel relaxed.
This video is longer than 30 seconds, but we think it's worth it.
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