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Watching Tik Tok can actually be good for your mental health

TikTok’s popularity has boomed and become one of the biggest social media platforms in the world, with over 1.1 billion users worldwide, across 154 countries. Brits spend an average of 41 minutes on the app daily, which is the equivalent of 13.5 days since the beginning of the pandemic in April 2020. The simple scroll through a never-ending stream of 15-second videos fits seamlessly into our lives, temporarily gratifying our emotional and social needs for a natural relief from our stresses. 

But what impact does spending all this time on the popular app have? With the number of people using TikTok growing each year, we at Lenstore uncover the surprising health benefits behind using TikTok, with the help of psychological and scientific experts.

The satisfying content boom 

A big trend contributing to TikTok’s growth is ‘satisfying’ content, which includes a range of videos from ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) to slime and deep cleaning videos. Throughout lockdown, this content grew in popularity, likely due to the way they offered us an escape from the unprecedented world in which we were living. 

We’ve asked our experts to explain why we find these videos so calming, relaxing and addictive, and how these videos can actually have a positive impact on your health?

TikTok doesn’t have to be a danger to us

Whilst there are many concerns around the impact that social media has on our health, psychologists reveal it’s in fact about how we use these platforms which determines how we feel. Users should interact and engage, rather than just follow, to feel connected and get the best benefits from using social media. This is exactly what TikTok allows, with millions of people filling their time getting involved, creating their own videos, and using the app as a fun distraction from the uncertain situation we were all in. 

In addition, satisfying videos have also greatly contributed to users feeling relaxed, and helping them get into a stress-free state. The #oddlysatisfying hashtag became extremely popular and currently has a staggering 39.8 billion views. 

The TOP six most popular video searches for satisfying content 

1) Colouring

2) ASMR 

3) Cleaning

4) Slime

5) Crunching 

6) Sand (primarily kinetic sand) 

These categories are based on views and engagement and all fall under the bracket of #oddlysatisfying, which often use this to promote their videos.

The positive effects of watching satisfying TikToks 

Stress reduction:

 

Talking to Craig Richards from Shenandoah University, he states that stress is typically triggered by some type of threat perception, so the predictable and safe nature of a satisfying video may help to distract your stressful thoughts and restore your calmness. When we watch these videos we can predict what will happen - the cake will be crushed, the bath will be clean, and calmness overwhelms us.

“Work is stressful, even for your brain, so having your brain do less work is a key way to feeling happy, at ease, and calm.” - Craig Richards Ph.D. Shenandoah University 

Stress reduction is often associated with increased brain levels of serotonin, the same substance increased by antidepressant drugs. Curiously, some individuals with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) find calmness when they arrange objects in a symmetrical pattern. So the calmness and satisfaction we feel when observing satisfying and symmetrical videos may be due to a natural increase of our serotonin levels. 

Relaxation:

These satisfying videos feature repetitive symmetrical actions throughout, from the slow crushing of metal tubes to the movement of a felt-tip marker, producing a flow of smooth lines, and patterns, which creates a sense of things feeling complete. This feeling allows your body to enter into a state of relaxation as there seems to be a sense of order and structure. 

Craig Richard Ph.D. explains that the feeling of relaxation is thanks to ‘brain tingles’. This tingling sensation is Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) which comes with a deep feeling of relaxation. He investigates that ASMR can activate two parts of the brain: reward and emotion. 

“The satisfying videos are so predictable, which your brain positively recognises as a reward, signalling high levels of dopamine, a chemical release that lowers the heart rate and allows the viewer to enter a state of relaxation” Craig Richard PhD

Calmness:

Dr. Anita Deak of the University of Pécs draws on the feeling of calmness that we feel when we watch these videos, explained by the ‘mirror neuron theory’ meaning when we watch these videos they’re so immersive, we feel almost as though we are doing it ourselves. Some audiences have reported almost being able to feel the sensations and tingles themselves in the videos.  

“This calm feeling comes from the subconscious mind - we see symmetry, we naturally feel relaxed without noticing” - Rebecca Lockwood, a neuro-linguistic programming coach

Happiness and pleasure:

Professor Robert Colombo claims these videos release the chemicals serotonin and dopamine into the brain which is associated with happiness and positivity. Other chemicals in this reaction include endorphins, which induce pleasure, and oxytocin, which is also associated with bonding pleasures. 

In addition, oxytocin and dopamine are known as the ‘love hormones’, and are released in your brain the same way when watching satisfying content, as they do when you’re romantically or sexually attracted to someone, which is a feeling we all know and crave.

"The search for symmetry, and the emotional pleasure we derive when we find it, must help us make sense of the world around us, just as we find satisfaction in the repetition of the seasons and the reliability of friendships. Symmetry is simplicity. Symmetry is elegance.” - Michele LeMaitre, Artist

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See for yourself - the most satisfying TikToks around

Relax and take a break by delving into some of our favourite satisfying TikTok content:

Tap into your childhood and watch this creator elegantly colour in the lines:

https://www.tiktok.com/@colorintheliness/video/6954754508610194693

Watch and enjoy the sounds and slow movements of kinetic sand:

https://www.tiktok.com/@sand.tagious/video/6946610645450214662

The popular @crushinit takes their hydraulic press for a ride, crushing a number of satisfying objects, from sponges to cake to wax candles:

https://www.tiktok.com/@crushinit/video/6927390524827520261

Enjoy the symmetrical lines in this #powerwashingporn video:

https://www.tiktok.com/@powerwashingporn/video/6821969191759826181

Feel the ‘brain tingles’ as you watch this ASMR video:

https://www.tiktok.com/@christinaasmr/video/6986691536260058374

Dive into this galactic bowl of satisfyingly textured iridescent slime: https://www.tiktok.com/@talisatossell/video/6893371016676920577 

@thepoolguy creates videos cleaning pools, with an extremely satisfying and rewarding end result. His most popular video has 101 Million likes! https://www.tiktok.com/@thep00lguy/video/6961817436895104261


You could make up to £10k per video creating content that help your follower’s mental health

Creating TikTok videos is not only a fun and entertaining hobby - many creators now have the opportunity to make masses of money from these short 15 second videos - some as much as $15,000 USD (£10,700). 

So by making satisfying videos, creators now have the potential to earn a living off of making content that not only entertains but can also actually have a positive impact on their follower’s mental health. By providing a break from the dance and challenge videos, coupled with the potential negative impact that watching influencers can have on self-esteem, these satisfying videos allow viewers to relax and unwind from their busy everyday lives - so really, a huge positive for both the creator AND the viewer!

Some of the Top 10 satisfying content earners

Content creator 

Satisfying theme 

Following 

Average earnings per post (£GBP)

Average earnings per post ($USD)

@devonrodriguezart

Drawing 

16M

£7305 - £12176

$10,140- $16,900

@sand.tagiou

Sand

15.8M

£6830 - £11383

$9,480 - $15,800

@hpc_official

Crushing

10M

£4409 - £7348

$6,120- $10,200

@davidbeck

ASMR

8.7M 

£3760 - £2709

$5,220 - $8,700

@_catben_

Cleaning 

6.2M

£2723 - £4539

$3,780 - $6,300

@sandwoah

Sand 

5.3M

£2291 - £3818

$3,180 - $5,300

@satisfiedcrush-

Crushing 

4M

£2,400 - £2881

$2,400- $4,000

@peachyslime

Slime

3.3M

£1297 - £2162

$1,801- $3,001

@colorinthelines

Drawing 

1.2M

£518 - £1,201

$720- $1,201

@prettymanasmr

Cleaning 

4M

£475 - £792

$660- $1,100


The average amount these satisfying videos can make varies on the number of followers and engagement they receive. With a smaller following of 106.2k, @oddlysatisfactory  earns an average of $63.60 - $106.00 per post, while @powerwashingporn’s 209.2k followers earn them an average of $125 - $209. 

In contrast, @thep00lguy, who has 10.3M followers, will have an average earning of $6,361- $10,600 per post, thanks to his impressive engagement rate of 24.68% - much higher than the average engagement rate for a TikTok varies between 3-9%. 

Protect your eyes while watching satisfying TikTok

It’s not news that screen time can have a negative impact on your eye health, so it’s important to be conscious of your screen habits. 

of the time you are spending scrolling through the hours of videos and take regular breaks from screens. 

Roshni Patel BSC (Hons) MCOptom says: “It’s important not to forget about your eye health while you are scrolling through your favourite social media apps. Disregarding this can have a huge impact on your health and can cause issues such as eye strain, headaches, and irritation. 

Here are my top tips for making your eye health a priority: 

  1. Take frequent breaks: It’s important to give your eyes a break from staring at screens to help prevent eye strain, but this also can improve neck, back and shoulder pains arising as well. Getting up, walking around, or even looking out the window for a few minutes can have a great impact.
  1. Adjust your screen settings: Turn on the automatic brightness setting, which allows your screen to best adjust based on your environment. Also, don’t forget to enable night mode, which reduces strain on your eyes in the evening.
  2. Use anti-glare screens: Reduce the reflection on glossy screens to lessen the strain on your eyes as they try to focus on the content on-screen. 
  3. Use the 20/20/20 rule: This is a great ‘eye workout! If you are staring at a screen for 20 minutes, look at something a minimum of 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds. This can help your eyes recover.
  1. Enlarge your on-screen text: Making your text bigger on-screen allows it to be read easier, thus straining your eyes less and reducing discomfort as a result.
  1. Don’t forget to blink: People naturally blink about one-third as often as they normally would when looking at screens, but this can dry your eyes and cause irritation. Tip: Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing your eyes slowly to remoisten your eyes.  
  1. Don’t forget to get your eyes checked: Visiting the optometrist once a year minimum is one of the most important things you can do to keep your eye health in check. 

So, the experts say - watching TikTok can have a positive impact on your mental health, so to boost your mood and mental health, get involved and watch some satisfying TikTok content today!