A recent study has revealed that watching cute animals can help to reduce stress and anxiety. The University of Leeds in partnership with Western Australia Tourism carried out a study that revealed that watching the images of cute animals like kittens and puppies can affect heart rate and blood pressure positively.
An associate professor at the University of Leeds, Dr. Andrea Utley created a 30-minute montage that features some puppies, kittens, and baby gorillas. There were also some quokkas. The quokka is a beautiful creature found in Western Australia, this animal is often referred to as “the world’s happiest animal.”
In December 2019, research that involved 19 subjects — 15 students and four staff was carried out, this section was timed during winter exams, a time when the level of stress significantly high, especially among medical students.
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The study focused on how heart rate, blood pressure, and the level of anxiety decline in participants, after 30 minutes of watching the video. According to the study, average blood pressure declined from 136/88 to 115/71 which is “within ideal blood pressure range.” Average heart rates declined to 67.4 bpm, a reduction of 6.5%.
Anxiety rates which were measured by a self-assessment method, the State-Trait Anxiety, also reduced by 35%.
I was quite pleasantly surprised that during the session, every single measure for every single participant dropped some — heart rate reduced, blood pressure reduced. When they left, they filled the questionnaire in again and indicated that they were feeling less anxious.Utley
When the participants were questioned, it was discovered that the majority preferred video clips over still images, especially when animals interact with humans.
Utley had planned to conduct eight sessions but had to postpone them due to the lockdown. She said more sessions are likely to be conducted in person by next year. However, she has been exploring some options online to keep the study going.