Science shows watching cute animals is good for your health
You knew watching videos of puppies and kittens felt good but now there’s data to back that watching cute animals may contribute to a reduction in stress and anxiety.
The study* examined how watching images and videos of cute animals for 30 minutes affects blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety in a 30-minute montage of the cute critters.
“There were kittens, puppies, baby gorillas. There were quokkas.
The quokka, an adorable creature found in Western Australia,
often referred to as “the world’s happiest animal.”
The sessions, conducted in December 2019, involved 19 subjects — 15 students and four staff — and was intentionally timed during winter exams, a time when stress is at a significantly high level, particularly for medical students.
In all cases, the study saw blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety go down in participants, 30 minutes after watching the video.
- Average blood pressure dropped from 136/88 to 115/71 — which the study pointed out is “within ideal blood pressure range.”
- Average heart rates were lowered to 67.4 bpm, a reduction of 6.5%.
- Anxiety rates also went down by 35%, measured using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, a self-assessment method often used in clinical settings to diagnose anxiety, according to the American Psychological Association.
When questioning the participants, the study found that most preferred video clips over still images, particularly of animals interacting with humans.
*The study was conducted by the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, in partnership with Western Australia Tourism,
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