This Online Group Is Dedicated To Things That Are Inexplicably Satisfying, Here Are 50 Of The Best Ones (New Pics)
There’s an undeniable allure to watching how the shadow perfectly lines up with the pavement. Or how the tiles align in shockingly neat repetitive patterns. Or how the trees and leaves present themselves in ideal forms and harmony. It’s hard to explain why these everyday oddities look so dreamy, but tapping into these moments of magic seems to scratch an itch we didn't even know we had.
The increasingly chaotic everyday life has us striving toward order, beauty, and perfection. So if you crave some more of seemingly mundane things that trigger pleasant sensations, the 'Oddly Satisfying' subreddit is the place to be. With nearly 8 million members, the online community has set out to collect "those little things that are inexplicably satisfying", hypnotizing the internet one picture at a time.
Below, we wrapped up the newest batch of some of the most brain-tingling photos to give you a sense of instant satisfaction. So, sit back, relax, and prepare to see some of the most visually pleasing things imaginable. Keep reading to also find our interview about this internet phenomenon with Deborah S. Bowen, Ph.D. Be sure to upvote your favorite pics, and then let us know what you think about them in the comments!
The Lighting Under This Bridge That Makes It Look Like A Crescent-Moon In The Water
Oddly satisfying is an attempt to describe an inexplicably pleasing quality that watching an otherwise mundane object triggers in its viewer. The term refers to images of videos encompassing everything from dominoes falling in perfect lines to smooth cake icing to the wonderful symmetry in nature.
The concept itself gained quite a cult following online mainly due to the subreddit in question. The group was created back in 2013 and has now become one of Reddit’s largest communities, ranking 29th on the list.
If you’ve ever browsed your social media feeds and suddenly stumbled upon videos of physical objects being manipulated in highly specific ways — melted, smoothed, poured, carved, sliced, mixed, dissolved — you know the feeling. It may have to do with symmetry, patterns, and repetition. Or it may be related to soothing imagery and sounds that allow you to absorb the experience, which our brain seems to find innately enjoyable. It still holds a sense of mystery, and that’s all part of the beauty.
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According to an American insurance company Lemonade Inc., at least one video with an #OddlySatisfying hashtag is posted on Instagram every minute on average, and there’s been a dramatic spike in Google searches for these soothing examples over the last few years. So why did this trend suddenly become so popular? How did it take the internet by storm?
Explaining why we like anything can be complicated, but among the many examples floating online, there seem to be some clues. So to learn more about this phenomenon, we reached out to Deborah S. Bowen, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of PR Instruction at the University of South Florida. "It’s been proven that satisfying videos release combinations of 'feel-good' hormones, like dopamine and serotonin," she explained that part of the appeal of these visuals is that they bring out happiness and positivity.
"We know that a chemical element is associated with these wonderful little videos (and part of the trick is that these videos should be short!), but we also respond to them on an unconscious — if not visceral! — level," Bowen told Bored Panda.
"Part of the 'satisfaction' comes from the visual, which is usually the obvious and cathartic resolution or completion of a task. The explanation here is obvious: there is a deep sense of satisfaction when a job is completed," the professor said, adding that oddly satisfying clips usually have a sensual element to them: "Extracting a blackhead, for example, or the little 'clicks' we often hear in restocking videos (a favorite of mine!)"
Another explanation, according to Bowen, might be that these images embody things "as they should be". "We are witnessing order being imposed on chaos," she explained. "Even those oh-so-dreamy symmetrical swirls of icing on a cake — this, too, is forming a version of a reality that we can control."
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But as the professor pointed out, we humans are visual species and have always found aesthetically pleasing images to bring a calming or soothing effect. So, by itself, the concept of oddly satisfying has existed for a long time, we just didn’t have the language to express it.
"Embracing the term 'oddly satisfying' is a strong public relations move for creators who generate this kind of content. A searchable term also facilitates locating this sort of video when someone is actively searching for it. Providing context for this kind of content allows for any number of new creators and viewers to become aware of this growing genre," Bowen added.
Still, the word "oddly" gives her pause. "The universality of these videos must mean that there is spiritus mundi at work here. Perhaps we as an audience don’t want to admit that we derive so much physical and psychological pleasure from these, so we cast them as 'must look at' content, like the proverbial trainwreck."
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So, in essence, the vast majority of the population gets pleasure from oddly satisfying things that transmit a sense of relaxation and calm. In fact, young and digitally equipped people even report watching these videos before they go to bed to get a better night’s sleep. "The chemical release we experience is likely part of the equation, but I think there is a strong draw to see neutral or non-topical videos that have some kind of 'ahhhhh' catharsis at the end," Bowen said.
She believes everything lies in this little release of tension when the job is complete, when symmetry has been put in place, and when order has been imposed on chaos. "[It] feels like the moment when suddenly the tension in your body loosens, or you realize you’ve been holding your breath and you let it out."
But when we succumb to the mindless scroll through the oddly satisfying universe, do we really forget about our daily troubles? Well, Bowen believes we do. "In 2022, the third year of a pandemic, with political divisiveness and culture wars brewing in the real world and across social platforms, it is easy to understand why these videos are so popular. They are escapism in a very true form of the word: they allow us to feel, even for the briefest second, that there is some piece of this world that is controllable."
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Oddly satisfying imagery seems to serve as a form of self-care, and it offers a fresh breath of air with its soothing and slow-paced nature. So, naturally, it can be easy to fall down the rabbit hole and watch these images and videos as a kind of microtherapy for hours on end.
When this is the case, strive to be a more conscious media consumer: "Beyond the general warnings about overconsumption of media in general, I would suggest limiting consumption only so that desensitization does not happen," Bowen advised. "As with anything we put in our bodies or do to our bodies, we develop a tolerance. Monitoring the amount of all video content we consume is a crucial part of making sure we have a well-balanced information diet."
For example, understanding the value of breaks from social media is vital. Professor Bowen said she has heard these referred to as "blackouts," "cleanses," and "timeouts." These beneficial intervals can be long or short, multi-platform, or an entire shutdown of social media.
"In today’s world of constant, generally stressful information, it is crucial to set aside time during the day to turn off your devices and be present in the world. This might mean having a 'no phones' meal with friends or taking a quiet walk or running errands / performing tasks that you enjoy (you’ll feel productive!) without checking the phone."
"Short breaks can lead to longer breaks until you might very well take a hiatus from social media. But do make time during your day to turn off the information flow and take care of your mental well-being," Bowen concluded.