Honestly, everyone could really use a break right now even if just for five minutes. That's where the new Disney+ show Zenimation comes in. A play on the words zen and animation, the 10-part series consists of five to eight-minute videos of particularly serene moments from Disney films. And since things like ASMR, water noises, and nature scenery are proven to help people relax, this show couldn't come at a better time.
Each episode of Zenimation focuses on a different theme designed to "refresh your senses with a moment of mindfulness." "Water" is a collection of scenes from Frozen (Elsa riding a water horse), Moana (characters setting sail), and The Little Mermaid (Prince Eric rowing a boat). "Flight" features whistling wind noises as Aladdin and Jasmine hop on board the magic carpet, the children fly with Peter Pan to Neverland, and more. "Serenity" shows Belle walking in her quaint village in Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas surrounded by the serene forest, and the lanterns being lit in Tangled. Other themes explored are "Night," "Nature," "Levity," and "Cityscapes."
In the clips, the background music and dialogue has been stripped out and soothing water, animal, or wind noises have been layered on top. Watching and listening to even a few moments of the videos can do wonders for a person's anxiety. A 2014 psychology study from Swansea University in the UK found that ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) videos can help decrease symptoms of depression and help people who deal with chronic pain. Nature sounds and scenes in particular are among the most helpful, according to another study from Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
Health magazine reported that the study found that sounds from nature change our brain connections to reduce fight-or-flight response, which in turn helps us to calm down. Lead author Cassandra Gould van Praag, PhD told Health that even going for just a quick walk in nature can help decrease stress. If you can't get outside, though, it seems like listening to and watching nature scenes would be the next best thing. And since Gould van Praag said "even a few minutes of escape could be beneficial," then the five to eight-minute Disney clips could be perfect.
Disney is not the first to compile soothing videos. As Vice previously reported, Instagram videos of cakes being decorated became hugely popular around 2018 after people started watching them to zone out. Others prefer watching slime videos, home organization, or those cooking clips where everything is filmed from above.
The internet already provides a lot of pain and anger and trauma on a daily basis, why not use it for a little R&R too?