Let’s all be honest about something here. As a matter of course, each and every one of us, at one time or another, will put off an important assignment in order to watch one, two or 36 cat videos on YouTube. There’s no shame in it. Cat videos are what make us human, after all. (I think that’s Shakespeare … Thoreau, maybe?)
The question is, what’s the significance of all this? Why am I writing about it on a blog that’s meant to chronicle the life and times of a copywriter? The answer is … because cat videos are important to me. But also, because science says I can, that’s why.
This entry isn’t specifically about copywriting or subject lines or email design… but it is about a proven way to bolster creativity, rejuvenate a tired mind, and make you an overall happier worker.
This is an actual picture of my cat watching a cat video. I feel like a better writer already.
A study published earlier this summer in the journal Computers in Human Behavior surveyed over 7,000 people on their emotional and practical responses to viewing “cat-related media” online, as well as the motivations behind seeking out the videos. The study resulted in the following conclusions:
- Participants overwhelmingly reported fewer negative emotions such as anxiety, sadness and annoyance after watching cat videos
- Participants were more energetic and felt more positive after watching cat-related online media
- Often, participants sought out cat videos while at work or while studying
- For the majority, the pleasure resulting from watching these videos significantly outweighed guilt felt about procrastinating
“Even if they are watching cat videos on YouTube to procrastinate or while they should be working, the emotional pay-off may actually help people take on tough tasks afterward,” said the study’s author, Indiana University assistant professor Jessica Gall Myrick, in a press release.
And hey, that bit about feeling more energetic and positive? Here’s a quick little video explaining more of the science-y stuff behind that, complete with words like “oxytocin” and “cortisol.” The gist: watching cat videos is proven to help your brain release more happiness hormones and suppress stress hormones, thus giving you a natural boost of energy and motivation.
Basically, what I’m taking away from all this is that if you’re having one of those days at work when you just can’t fight the writer’s block or it’s 2 pm and your brain feels like mush and the coffee machine is just too far away, and you’re feeling a lot like Grumpy Cat, watching a cat video could be exactly the creative caffeine (creative catffeine, if you will) that you need to get back in gear.
Just for the record, it’s not like I wrote this blog entry specifically to excuse my own habits or convince any co-workers of anything. Scout’s honor, I swear. And if I just happen to have a list of the 14 greatest cat videos of 2014 bookmarked, as well as a livestream showing about a dozen kittens live on camera 24/7/365, well, it’s all in the name of better writing and motivation.
Can’t thank you enough, Science, this is exactly the kind of progress and discovery I’m here for.
I always knew Lil Bub would help me get ahead in the workforce.