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Bubble wrap anti-stress stations ‘pop’ up in Milan

An Italian artist has created bubble wrap popping stations in Milan. (Thinkstock)Stressed? There's bubble wrap for that.

An Italian artist, Fra Biancoshock, is providing free stress relief at Milan bus stops with his anti-stress bubble-wrap spots.

People who are lined up for the bus can take a sheet of three-minute, five-minute or ten-minute bubble wrap — the time denomination is based on how long it will take someone to pop the entire sheet.

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"The idea is as brilliant as it is simple, and way more socially responsible than smashing a bus shelter, which seems to be the stress-reliever of choice for many," writes Manolith's Colin Hunter.

Popping bubble wrap for stress relief isn't just fun, it's science.

The New York Times reports that research shows popping bubble wrap is effective in reducing stress.  In 1992, Kathleen M. Dillion of Western New England College published a study titled "Popping Sealed Air-Capsules to Reduce Stress" in the journal Psychological Reports.

"There's something about the sound," Dillion says.

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But aside from relieving stress, bubble popping can be an effective way to reduce boredom. MIT researcher Richard Larson tells NPR that "occupied time" seems shorter than "unoccupied time," making bubble wrap a helpful distraction when faced with a boring wait.

The writers at Design Taxi agree.

"Even if you are not feeling particularly stressed up, this sounds like a really fun way to kill time while waiting for the bus."

Of course, if popping bubble wrap gives you no pleasure, the sound of your neighbour popping away might make your stressful wait for the bus worse. 

Watch the below video about how to combat holiday stress. 

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