Tree hugging, bead play and mango seeds: Chinese youth seek novel ways to relieve stress
Tree hugging, watching videos of mundane activities, and raising unconventional “pets” are just some methods that generations of young Chinese citizens have adopted to relieve stress.
The newest is a toy called “mango dog”, which has appeared on social media, bringing what netizens claim to be a sense of calmness and a therapeutic effect.
“Mango dogs” are the seeds that are left behind after eating the fruit. The “pet” is obtained by washing away the fruit pulp from the seed, brushing the fibres with a toothbrush, drying the seed with a hairdryer, and leaving it under the sun for a while.
In the eyes of some netizens, the “mango dog” has special meaning. “Every time I see it, it heals me,” wrote one, while for another, “it’s fluffy and cute”.
Some netizens said the process of making a “mango dog” allows them to free themselves from the anxieties of work and study, and experience a carefree childhood again.
This is not the first time that Chinese youth have raised novel “pets”. College students have shared online their experiences of raising stones and cardboard box “dogs”. These “pets” share similar characteristics – they do not cry, make noise or get sick.
Tree hugging has also become a new form of stress relief for young people.
“You may think you are hugging the tree, but in fact, the tree is embracing you,” one netizen shared. Many others who have experienced tree hugging said their anxiety was alleviated, and they felt as though they were communicating with nature.
In cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou and Zhengzhou, some people have even organised “tree-hugging interest groups” and regularly plan tree-hugging activities.
“I came across someone online saying that hugging a tree can relieve stress. I tried it and felt truly relaxed,” said a young office worker identified only as Mr Ma.
“In those brief seconds, it felt like the tree released a lot of pressure and stress from me.”
Another young man, known only as Mr Wu, finds joy in watching short videos of mundane activities before sleeping.
“I especially enjoy watching stress relief videos, like trimming horse hooves, washing blankets and cutting soap. After watching them, I feel like the stress of the day is relieved, and it’s easier to fall asleep.”
Earlier in 2023, playing with strings of plastic beads became popular among elementary school pupils who claimed that the sound of rubbing the beads between their fingers is relaxing. Other toys such as stress balls have also gained popularity.
The popularity of these stress relief methods reflects the need for youth to release emotional pressure. According to public data, there are currently more than 800 companies in China with names, business areas, products, services or trademarks containing the term “stress relief”. In 2022 alone, more than 70 new registered companies with this focus were added. - CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK