KEY POINTS

  • Study: Watching adorable animal videos has mental health benefits
  • The videos enhance one’s mood and provide relief against stress
  • After watching the videos, anxiety levels could drop as much as 50% 

Watching images and videos of cute animals for a minimum of 30 minutes reduces stress and anxiety levels, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom and the Tourism of Western Australia jointly.

In the study, first reported by CNN, the researchers monitored related vitals of 19 respondents comprised of 15 students and four university staff. To get the most ideal results, the study was conducted during the respondents’ winter exams as such a period proved to be the most stressful for both students and staff. 

All participants had decreased blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety levels after watching cute animal videos compiled for the session. Specifically, the participants showed an average reduced blood pressure of 115/71 from 136/88. Their heart rates, meanwhile, decreased by 6.5% from 90 bpm to 72 bpm.  

The most significant finding from the study was the psychological impact of the cute animal videos on the students and staff. Their anxiety levels dropped by as much as 50%, proving that adorable animal content can be one of the most powerful reliefs against stress and one of the strongest mood enhancers. 

There are also three results that appeared to be dominant among the students and staff. One is that the participants said that they found the session relaxing and enjoyable. The content offered a distraction from the pressures of the coming exams, the students said. 

Another dominant result is that participants preferred video clips over still photos. They particularly liked the clips where animals were shown interacting with people.

Lastly, the participants reported feeling valued and supported after undergoing the sessions, most especially that the study aims to relieve them from stress and anxiety. 

“As with other research, it would appear that animals are able to reduce stress and anxiety in humans. It would appear that images appeal but video clips are more meaningful,” Dr. Andrea Utley, an associate professor at the University of Leeds, said in a news release. 

“With the results as solid as they are, we’ll be rolling this relaxation method out across other departments so more students can destress ahead of their exams,” Utley added.

Spectacular Candid Moments of Top 10 Cutest Animals. A baby baboon (Papio hamadryas) is seen in the Cali zoo July 14, 2011. Photo: Reuters.

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