Younger generations of Chinese citizens have developed new methods to relieve stress, which include raising unconventional "pets", hugging trees, watching stress relief videos and playing hand strings or other stress-relieving toys.
On social media platforms, a new toy called "mango dog" recently emerged, which netizens claim brings a sense of calmness and gives a therapeutic effect.
"Mango dogs" are actually mango seeds left after eating the fruit. Getting this "pet" is not hard. After eating the mango, wash away the excess fruit pulp, then use a toothbrush to brush off the fibers on the mango seed, dry it with a hairdryer and let it dry in the sunlight for a while.
In the eyes of some netizens, the "mango dog" has special meaning. "Every time I see it, it heals me," "It's fluffy and cute."
Some netizens said that the process of making a "mango dog" allows them to free themselves from the anxieties of work and study and experience of a carefree childhood again.
This is not the first time that young people have raised novel "pets". For example, college students have shared online their experiences of raising stones and paper box "dogs". These "pets" share similar characteristics — they don't cry, make noise or get sick.
Tree hugging has also become a new stress relief for young people.
"You may think you are hugging the tree, but in fact, the tree is embracing you," this is a feeling shared by a netizen. Many netizens who have experienced tree hugging themselves have expressed that their anxiety has been relieved, and they feel a sense of communication with nature.
In cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou and Zhengzhou, some people have even organized "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 surnamed Ma. "In those brief seconds, it felt like the tree released a lot of pressure and stress from me."
A young media worker surnamed Wu finds the joy in watching short videos 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 this year, playing hand strings with plastic beads became popular among young students who claim the sound of rubbing the beads between your fingers is healing. Other toys such as squeeze balls have also gained popularity as a way to alleviate stress.
The popularity of these stress relief methods reflects young people's need to release emotional pressure. According to public data, there are currently more than 800 companies in China with names, business scopes, products, services or trademarks containing the term "stress relief". In 2022 alone, more than 70 new registered companies with this focus were added.