If you’re anything like us, watching a cute puppy, kitten, bunny (anything fluffy really), will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. The above photo is actually of our Dalton Wise family dog, Archie! We’ve got some great news for animal lovers this week, as researchers at University of Leeds have found that looking at adorable animals reduces our stress levels.

You don’t even need to see them in real life for them to make you feel better. The University of Leeds partnered with Tourism Western Australia in a recent study which set out to explore the physiological and psychological impact of ‘cute’ animals on both students and staff at the university. The study included 19 participants who were asked to watch a 30-minute slide show full of photos and short videos of a range of different animals, including a Quokka – a super cute animal native to Australia (google them if you don’t know what they are, you won’t regret it!).

15 of the participants were students who were scheduled to take an exam 90 minutes after watching the slide show. The other four were university staff who had stated they were feeling stressed at work.

So what were the findings?

The heart rate in every participant dropped after the half hour of watching cute animals. The average blood pressure in all participants also decreased. Each participant answered a 20 question questionnaire in order for the researchers to assess their stress levels under the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. They found that anxiety levels reduced by almost 50%, suggesting that looking at cute animals can be a powerful and effective stress reliever and mood enhancer!

Whatever you’ve got planned today, schedule in a bit of time to look at some cute animals (if you have a pet – even better!).

Check out last week’s Good News Monday HERE

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