In recent years, we’ve seen a significant increase in stress-related illnesses across a whole range of populations and cultures. In a recent study completed by the University of Leeds, they did a survey of 3,604 students at UK universities and “found that almost half (45 percent) feel stressed by their course.”

While activities such as yoga, mindfulness, meditation, and exercise can have positive impacts on mental health and can help your body’s ability to deal with stress, the science behind it seems to have mixed findings. However, on a more positive note, this study found an even easier and more convenient way to combat stress and improve overall brain function, and the answer might surprise you!

Study Confirms Western Australia’s Quokkas ‘Are Good for Your Health’

Source: SLC Representation/Youtube

The University of Leeds partnered up with Tourism Western Australia to “explore the physiological and psychological impact of ‘cute’ animals, including the world’s happiest animal – Western Australia’s very own quokka – on students and staff at the University of Leeds.”  Related to wallabies and kangaroos, quokkas have been named the world’s happiest animals due to their contagious smile.

19 participants in the study were shown a 30-minute slide show of images and videos of a variety of cute animals, including the quokka. Some of the participants wore heart rate monitors during the experiment.

The study found that the videos of this cute animal had a significant and immediate positive impact on the health and brain function of the participants. As the study describes, “Heart rates for every single participant dropped after viewing images and videos of cute animals for just 30 minutes.”

The next time you feel stressed out, try taking a moment to watch some video clips of these cute and magnificent creatures. Just make sure the videos are from a trusted source, so the animals aren’t exploited for these videos. The findings of this study are a friendly reminder that we can all benefit greatly from observing animals and the natural world!

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