As you may have noticed, cute animal videos have overtaken the internet. One of my favorites is Nature magazine’s Top 10 Cutest Animals in Science 2014 which includes everything from dancing frogs to new species of monkeys to koalas enjoying a nap.
As scientists, we’re not content to just look at cute animal photos or videos, we’re also discovering the effects they have on humans.
For example, Japanese researchers found that after viewing images of baby animals, study participants performed tasks that required focused attention more carefully than those who hadn’t seen the images.
I look forward to seeing work that shows a more important effect of animal videos is the joy that many of these images bring to us. I believe that being happy, choosing optimism and laughter enhance every aspect of our health. Here are just a few example of how happiness and joy affect our bones:
- A recent US study found a significant association between marital quality and spinal bone strength for women. Women who reported increase in spousal support had a significantly higher bone density than women who do not have such support. It is reasonable to suggest that greater spousal support would translate into greater happiness, adding support to my long-and held theory that happiness strengthens bone.
- A Finnish study published January of this year showed older women who were satisfied with their lives had higher bone density and are less likely to develop osteoporosis than unsatisfied peers.
Why not get started building your bones now by taking a look at my favorite video of the Top 10 Cutest Animals in Science 2014? I do love the dancing frogs — what’s your favorite?
Nittono H, Fukushima M, Yano A, Moriya H (2012) The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus. PLoS ONE 7(9): e46362. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046362. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0046362 (accessed 1/21/2015)
Miller- Martinez, et al., Marital histories, marital support, in bone density: findings from the Midlife in the United States Study. Osteoporosis international, published online 15 January, 2014.
Nursing Standard. 29.22,16-16, in print 28 January 2015.