If you ask any pet owner, they will gladly tell you all of the benefits of keeping a pet. I’m also guessing that they would say how they simply could not live without them. This adoration toward animals has been going on for millennia and likely won’t stop anytime soon. The connections between humans and animals are not just soothing to our hearts, our pets help our mental health as well.
These extraordinary benefits include reduced stress, improved mood, and enriching our purpose. After all, they love us unconditionally and express it with gratitude and affection. I am a true pet/animal lover, and I know I wouldn’t be me without them in my life.
Here are several significant ways pets help our mental health.
Lower the Risk of Depression, Anxiety, and Loneliness
Many times, anxiety, depression, and loneliness go hand-in-hand. Truthfully, all of these can be the result of not living in the present moments of life. Wanting to be somewhere else, with someone else, and doing something else has a way of causing suffering. Pets have a distinct way of demanding our attention and bringing us to the NOW of life with gratitude.
A recent survey by Habri (human/animal bond research institute) has shown that 75% of pet owners report improved mental health from pet ownership. This may be because having a pet can give you a sense of self-worth, provide you with love that is not conditional, and have a calming and soothe us via physical contact. If mental health takes a turn for the worse, regardless of the cause, the curative and rehabilitative effects of having a pet are certainly not to be disregarded.
Additionally, a relationship with a pet is less likely to have the highs and lows that we experience with humans. As a result, our relationship with our pets is much more stable and less likely to create stress or heartache.
Helps Improve Social Skills
Recent research has shown that owning a pet can help with socialization for adults and children. This is particularly evident with those who have special needs such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I have a child on the spectrum and know that her pets have brought out compassion, empathy, and responsibility. When she has anxiety or feels down, she wants her dog immediately!
Another thing that happens is that dog ownership gets us out of the house. This increases the chances of meeting and connecting with others. Not to mention it helps us move more, aiding physical fitness
Benefits Hormones and Brings Physical Comfort
Petting an animal causes the production of the hormone oxytocin, which has been linked to feelings of contentment and peace. Someone who is experiencing extreme stress and anxiety can benefit from petting or holding a pet. This is because it helps them to relax- the state that allows feelings of joy and peace.
Because animals have been shown to have a soothing effect on people of all ages, the use of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) has been increasing. Some examples of AAT include puppy and kitten therapy sessions, in which participants are invited to sit with animals and freely touch them. In research conducted, all adult patients who had animal therapy reported a reduction in their levels of anxiety, even those who reported they weren’t fond of animals.
No matter how big or small an animal is, having one (or 5…lol) as a companion can positively affect a person’s physical and mental health. Not only do they offer company, but the love and assistance that they give are unconditional. Do also think about making your pet as comfortable as possible with quality food, toys, and a comforting bed like Pawpedics. Serving them as they do us increases the bond and the benefits we have for each other.
**** This post is strictly informational and is not meant to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Women’s lifelink, its owners, administrators, contributors, affiliates, vendors, authors, and editors do not claim that this information will diagnose, treat, or improve any condition or disease.