Pet Rocks Make a Comeback in South Korea as Stress-Relief Trend

Pet rocks make a surprising comeback in South Korea as a stress-relief trend, highlighting the demand for unconventional coping strategies in a fast-paced society.

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Shivani Chauhan
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Pet Rocks Make a Comeback in South Korea as Stress-Relief Trend

Pet Rocks Make a Comeback in South Korea as Stress-Relief Trend

In a surprising resurgence of a 1970s fad, pet rocks are once again gaining popularity, this time in South Korea as a way to alleviate stress and anxiety.

The trend, which involves adopting and caring for small, smooth stones as if they were live pets, has been embraced by a growing number of young Koreans seeking a unique form of companionship and relaxation.

Pet rocks first became a cultural phenomenon in the United States in 1975, when advertising executive Gary Dahl marketed them as low-maintenance pets. The craze quickly faded, but now, nearly 50 years later, it has found new life in South Korea. Stores specializing in pet rocks have opened in Seoul and other major cities, offering a wide selection of stones in various shapes, sizes, and colors.

Unlike their 1970s counterparts, which were often sold with humorous care instructions, the pet rocks in South Korea are being marketed as serious tools for stress relief and mindfulness. Owners are encouraged to form emotional bonds with their stones, giving them names and even creating small homes or carrying cases for them. Some enthusiasts claim that the act of caring for a pet rock helps them feel more grounded and focused, providing a sense of stability in uncertain times.

Why this matters: The pet rock trend in South Korea highlights the growing demand for unconventional stress-relief methods in a society known for its fast-paced lifestyle and high-pressure work culture. As more people seek ways to manage their mental health, the resurgence of this quirky fad highlights the importance of finding personalized coping strategies, even if they may seem unusual to others.

Psychologists have noted that the pet rock trend aligns with the concept of mindfulness, as it encourages individuals to focus on the present moment and engage in a calming, repetitive activity. "Caring for a pet rock can be a form of meditation," explained Dr. Park Jae-sung, a professor of psychology at Seoul National University. "It allows people to take a break from their screens and the constant stimulation of modern life, instead directing their attention to something simple and tangible."

While some may dismiss the pet rock trend as a passing fad or a marketing gimmick, its popularity in South Korea suggests that it is meeting a genuine need for stress relief and connection in a society contending with the pressures of modern life . As the trend continues to grow, it remains to be seen whether pet rocks will become a long-term fixture in South Korean culture or if they will eventually fade away, as they did in the United States nearly half a century ago.

Key Takeaways

  • Pet rocks are regaining popularity in South Korea as a stress-relief tool.
  • The trend involves caring for small stones as if they were live pets.
  • Pet rocks are marketed as tools for mindfulness and emotional connection.
  • The trend reflects the demand for unconventional coping strategies in South Korea.
  • The long-term impact of the pet rock trend remains to be seen.