Apart from dragging you into a social media vortex, it turns out that stalking cute baby animals could actually be good for you.
Students at the University of Westminster experienced this theory first hand when a puppy and bunny room opened at the university. Launched earlier this week, the initiative was aimed to reduce exam stress. The adorable treats were the inspired idea of student union president Lauren Waugh, and slots were filled almost immediately. The animals, consisting of eight bunnies and 12 puppies, all came from registered breeders and had loads of breaks for themselves too.
Apart from being a playful break from the monotony of studying, the hopping and scampering petting zoo may have had real psychological benefits.
According to the university’s Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Dr. Trudi Edginton, the pressure students face during exam time can have a disruptive impact on their lives. Its adverse effects include interfering with concentration, sleep quality, and the ability to relax. She explained that the pleasure of playing with baby animals releases oxytocin, and helps reduce exam-related stress.
Research throughout the years also supports the correlation between baby animals and stress relief. So the next time you find yourself in the throes of a cute puppy Instagram binge, just tell yourself that it’s all for your psychological health.