Who knew watching a ball of goo could be so satisfying?
“Slime videos” are trending on Instagram, and the videos aren’t as gross as you may think. They typically depict a big blob of slime (made with Elmer's glue, borax, water, and colored dye or sequins) being molded, smushed, folded, pushed, and pulled, which creates cracking and bubbling noises.
Manyof the video creators have racked up hundreds of thousands of followers, perhaps because of the unexpectedly therapeutic nature of the videos. The apparently soothing effect places them in the same genre as auto-sensory meridian response (ASMR) videos, which can create a tingly, calming bodily sensation.
The sensation of videos like these is often touted as a way to induce relaxation and calm anxiety, though Mary Ann Mercer, Psy.D., co-author of Spontaneous Optimism: Proven Strategies for Health, Prosperity & Happiness says that any claims appear to be anecdotal since not enough research has been done on the topic.
That said, listening to calming sounds (even if it is slime noises) or watching videos that you find calming may help reduce anxiety, Mercer says, which is why psychologists often play sounds like ocean waves or white noise to help patients relax.
The catch: You don’t want to become dependent on these external cues. “It’s important to learn how to do this without depending on videos or social media, so you have the skills to feel in control of your stress or anxiety in the long run,” Mercer says. “The best way to achieve being happy and less anxious is to start with these techniques via sounds and videos, and then learn ways to achieve this on your own via deep breathing and movement.”
So if you find these squishy, mushy blobs relaxing (or at least amusing), feel free to follow some of the Instagram handles above (we know we will be!).