When you’re feeling a little frazzled, stressed or anxious, how soul-nourishing is it to watch a cute animal video?! According to a study conducted by the University of Leeds and Tourism Western Australia, watching animal videos can actually reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
Researchers showed 19 participants (admittedly a very small study) images and short video clips of animals including tiger cubs, monkeys, baby gorillas and quokkas — the animal native to Rottnest Island in Western Australia — for a period of 30 minutes.
According to the BBC, 15 of the 19 participants were students of the University of Leeds and due to sit an examination an hour-and-a-half after watching the videos, while the other four participants were academic support staff who had admitted to feeling stressed at work.
Researchers took the blood pressure and heart rates of the participants before and after watching the clips and found hearts rates dropped by an average of 6.5% in just 30 minutes. The average blood pressure fell from a pre-high state of hypertension to readings in line with normal levels, the BBC has reported.
Collective anxiety levels within the 19 participants also decreased by an average of 35%, with some individuals experiencing a 50% decrease. The effect of quokkas is far-reaching!
The study, which was undertaken in partnership with Tourism Western Australia, found that consuming quokka content had a significant and immediate positive impact on the study participants, which bodes well for the tourism body where quokkas reside.
While this study is very small and not at all comprehensive (and conducted with a tourism body included), there really is no doubt that watching cute animals videos, especially those of quokkas, is an instant mood booster.