When I get anxious I look at GIFs on my phone.
The looping images really ground me when the hands go sweaty and the heart starts tap-dancing. There are all sorts of GIFs out there that can quiet the mind and boost happiness. I know I’ve slowly breathed along with GIFs to manage anxiety attacks. Here’s a famous example of a GIF designed to un-rattle nerves. Breathe along with it!
Isn’t that nice?
But nothing helps me calm down faster than short, looping images of cute animals chomp-chomp-chomping on delicious, crunchy carrots. This is my very own personal anti-anxiety technique, and I’ve chosen to share it with you, my best friends in the world. There is just something so … soothing and zen-like about a hamster or panda happily snacking on the funniest vegetable. These GIFs of adorable animals eating carrots teach a valuable lesson in being present in the moment. Because that’s what life is all about: breathing, being, snacking. “Be mindful,” they seem to say, with small squeaky voices.
Now focus on these GIFs. Don’t just scroll past them and whisper “squee” to yourself (if you’re the sort of person who says “squee,” which is fine; this is a nonjudgemental internet article). Instead, meditate on each of them and say hello to:
1. A Very Comfortable Hamster Having A Wee Nosh
Okay, trust me: Just stare at this little fuzzball for a few seconds. I’ll wait. See? Feel better? We should all aspire to be a tiny hamster, wrapped in a blanket, nibbling on a carrot, without a care in the world.
2. A Very Chill Sloth Enjoying A Plate Of Crudité
This is both a soothing GIF of a sloth enjoying himself and a life philosophy: When in doubt, lie on your back and feed yourself healthy treats at your own damn pace.
3. A Groundhog Who Is Psyched About Carrot Sticks
I love this groundhog’s feisty attitude. He’s like, “Ay, I’m eatin’ this here scrumptious, carotene-rich treat. You gotta problem with that?” No, groundhog, we don’t. Not at all. Please continue.
4. A Puppy Who Likes To Play With His Food
Sometimes you have to chase the carrot. And that’s okay. This puppy doesn’t care because this puppy understands that sometimes you have to chase the carrot. (And sometimes you catch it, too.)
5. A Panda Taking A Well-Deserved Panda Break
Mr. Panda is having a good time eating his carrot stick. Remember: Enjoy what you have when you have it, just like Mr. Panda is doing here. When life gets stressful, it can be easy to forget to enjoy what’s in front of you.
6. A Pair Of Bunnies Enjoying A Carrot And Small Talk
I love this GIF of two baby rabbits sharing a baby carrot. They’re just hanging out, having a nice lunch together, when one bunny drags the carrot toward his bunny pal, and the pal is like,”That’s okay, I’m full.” That’s friendship.
7. Another Hamster Who Is Happy To Be Alive
I can’t get enough of hamsters eating carrots. I, mean, this guy? This guy. He loves carrots so much he stores them in his big chubby cheeks. Think of his carrots as metaphors for happiness and, when you can, stuff extra happiness into your face for later.
Next time you’re feeling a little wound up or run-down, invite these GIFs into your soul. Close your eyes. Listen to your lungs slowly inflate and deflate. Imagine yourself eating a carrot. Enjoy the carrot. Wiggle your nose. Smile.