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What is «Vær god mot deg selv»?

It’s a website with lots of research based tips and advice intended to give you a slightly better every day life during the pandemic.

In Autumn 2020, the University of Bergen initiated the project to help students and young people get through a challenging period. Covid-19 has affected our everyday life. We socialize less. We are not getting to know new people, we are homesick or bothered with «corona shame,» and struggle with feelings of missing out on the best of student life. This may have both physical and psychological consequences, and some even give up on their studies. The benefit of being a big university is that it encompasses enormous amounts of knowledge on how to master everyday life in all its facets. That’s why all the tips and advice are rooted in research and science originating from UiB itself.

Do you have any good tips on how to improve every day life during the pandemic?

Cute animals

Cute animals have a relaxing effect

Petting a dog can lower stress levels and release the "happiness hormone" oxytocin.


What is it about cute animals?

Both through research and therapeutic practice, it's well established that contact with animals has a relaxing and stress-relieving effect. However, you don't have to be in therapy to get the stress-relieving benefits of spending time with animals. If you dread going to the dentist or are stressed out before exams, close contact with an animal can help you feel more relaxed.

According to researcher Aurora Brønstad from the Department of Clinical Medicine at UiB, patting a dog has been proven to lower stress levels and trigger the "happy hormone" oxytocin. There are probably not many students in Bergen who have their own animals, but pretty much everyone has a smartphone or computer. Is it possible to get a similar calming effect by just looking at pictures of animals?

Earlier this year, researchers at the University of Leeds found that students who were about to take their exams and academic staff suffering from stress had a lower pulse and blood pressure after watching a 30-minute video montage of cute animals.

Brønstad is not convinced that only looking at images can have the same positive effects as close contact with animals. But she emphasizes that many people get pleasure from watching cute cats and dogs on Instagram. As a student, you can get quite a bit of entertainment from it if you are the type who loves animals.

This means that pictures and video clips can, at the very least, provide some of the positive effects that researchers have proven to result from contact with live cats and dogs.


Aurora Brønstad

Researcher at the Department of Clinical Medicine, the Laboratory Animal Facility


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