Why Binging On Those 'Oddly Satisfying' Videos Can Actually Relieve Stress

by Rosey Baker

I'm ashamed to admit this, but I have a morbid fascination with zit-popping videos on YouTube.

I've never known why, but there's something irresistibly satisfying about seeing someone purge poison from within themselves.

I'm not alone in my fascination with these weirdly satisfying vids, although the ones I like watching are way more gross than the ones most people like.

There's a whole subreddit devoted to the odd, yet satisfying, and it's full of videos of cats getting groomed, pictures of cereal boxes stacking up in a perfect way and piano music visualized.

I, for one, am a fan of this amazing video of flowing lava in Hawaii.

I just really like watching flowing liquid erupting from things. Zits and volcanoes really soothe my soul.

If the internet is a diary of our collective unconscious, it's no coincidence that so many of us are watching these videos.

Since we clearly get some peace of mind from watching them, it's worth raising questions about the psychology behind it.

There's definitely some connection to autonomous sensory meridian response, which is the euphoric experience of that tingling sensation that runs down your head, neck and spine before you're whisked away into full-body relaxation.

But even if you don't get the "tingles," you'll still feel super relaxed because these types of videos are an example of how human beings seek out media that either help them ignore negative feelings or reinforce positive ones.

Jessica Gall Myrick, an assistant professor at University of Indiana, says there's a scientific name for this as well, and it's called mood management theory.

The theory is, when human beings watch certain genres of media repeatedly, they start to associate that media with how it makes them feel, whether that's happy, relaxed or de-stressed.

Basically, this is just a scientist's drawn-out, snobby and better-than-you way of saying, "People feel good watching stuff they like."

Scientists are such windbags.

Just watch this video of a taffy-pulling machine to calm down:

Citations: Why You Love Watching Dog Massage Videos (Refinery29)