If you spend hours scrolling through cat videos online, there’s a scientific explanation for why that’s a hard habit to kick: A new study has found that watching footage of cute animals can reduce your anxiety, blood pressure and heart rate.
The study, led by the University of Leeds in Britain, Singapore Airlines and Western Australia’s tourism agency, featured videos of a quokka — a cuddly-looking wallaby native to Australia that the internet dubbed “the happiest animal on earth.” But footage of other wildlife can also elicit positive emotions like adoration, awe and love, said Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies how nature impacts the human psyche. “We are a visual species,” he said. “We derive a lot of health and happiness from our relationship to the natural world.”
If you can’t get out into the natural world, let it come to you. The internet has dozens of smile-inducing animal feeds from around the world.
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