7 Ways How Pets Can Help Your Mental Health4 minute
Nothing can beat the joy of coming home and snuggling with your pets. No matter how hard your day was and one glimpse of your pet and all the stress starts to go away. Because we don’t need to tell our pets how we are feeling, as soon as you enter the house your pet is ready to encounter your distress. Studies say that animals have a strong sense and understanding of emotions. So you don’t need to explain to them as you explain it to your human counterpart.
They help with your mental health as well as physical health. Even if you want to just get in your pajamas and stay in your bed while sipping your coffee. Your pets take you out on walking or hiking.
I have owned pets from my childhood, ranging from dogs, cats, cows, rabbits, horses and so on. Here are 7 key findings on how they keep your mental and physical health and helps you overcome emotional distress.
- They help you overcome your loneliness- Either you are having a bad day or you are just feeling lonely in general. Your pets are always there to calm you down and cheer you up. I remember my school days when I had my first breakup and I was feeling lonely as the whole world had turned on me. I was just lying in my bed and my pets (especially dogs, cats and rabbits) would come to my bed from time to time snuggle with me and push me out of bed and show me that this is not the end there is much more to come. And believe me, they didn’t leave me for a minute until I was feeling okay.
- They help you stay in the moment- Pets’ lives are always in the moment. Like humans, they never care what happened in the past and what will happen in the future. In other words, they help you become more mindful. In the psychological term, they bring one’s attention to the present moment, i.e. Mindfulness. Pets also help distract youngsters and teenagers from what’s bothering them. And spending time with a pet helps them to learn how to be cheerful and be in the moment.
- Pets love us unconditionally- Pets love their owners unconditionally. For example, no matter how bad you did in your exams or how your athletic or social skills are. They don’t need such man made reasons to love you. They are just happy and cheerful to spend time with you. Studies say that such unconditional love is very good for mental health as it stimulates the brain to release the chemical, dopamine. Basically, it helps you sense pleasure.
- They keep your heart strong- Not to brag but this is true that they just don’t help with your stress but also with your physical health. Studies have proved that pets help you lower your cholesterol, blood pressure and triglyceride levels. Means with all this combined effect you are less prone to experience a heart attack or stroke. Even if you are recovering from such an incident then your recovery rate is much higher if you have a pet to help you recover.
- Pets provide a sense of purpose- A pet provides you with a sense of purpose and responsibility. Because when you own a pet, you are never alone and you have to look after them. Which helps you organize your daily routine and also fills you with responsibility. It helps improve your mental health problems like anxiety and depression. Taking responsibility for your pet also helps improve your social skills. Which improves your relationships with your human counterparts.
- Pets offer empathy- I remember when one of my family members died when I was very young. We were having a hard time coping with it. So if someone would start crying or having an anxiety attack. Our pets would gather around and will start distracting us with putting their paws on our feet. Or they used to come and sit in our laps and cuddle. And it really helped people from going into severe depression. So always have a pet around, you never know when you might need them.
- Pets help you make more friends- Pets are an excellent way to improve your social interactions. As an adult, it is always hard to make friends. But if you have a pet with you then it is like an icebreaker and he or she is like your wingman. Suppose you are walking with your pet and someone just stops to pet your dog or cat. And just like this, you have a common topic to ta;k about. You will get easily comfortable with other pet owners. So for even introverts, pets are like a knight in shining armor, to help you interact with strangers. Studies also show that a pet owner is more likely to know his or her neighborhood better.
So if you have a fuzzy friend already then it is time to get too close to them and appreciate them more. If you don’t own one then you can just walk to a shelter near your home and bring one this new year. As a parent, if you do not want a pet at home, then you can take your kids to shelter from time to time so that they can encounter compassion and unconditional love. So from now on whenever you will walk to your pets never forget to thank them.
Feel free to drop a comment on how your pets help you with your tough times.