Emotional Wellness and PetsFebruary 1, 2017
As a pet owner, you likely already know that your sweet furry friend brings you infinite joy. Did you also know that your pet can actually improve your mental health? It’s true! How do pets do this? Check out some great examples below. When life feels overwhelming and stressful, keep these in mind and look to your best buddy.
How does your pet help you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.
Petting reduces stress: When you slow down and take the time to pet your dog or cat, you connect with them. Studies show that connecting with your pet releases oxytocin, helping to relieve your feelings of stress and anxiety, as well as reducing blood pressure and cortisol levels. Focus on your pet’s fur, warmth, and rhythmic breathing to slow things down and connect with them.
They help lessen isolation and get you outside: Spoiler alert – people love dogs. Dogs are particularly great in helping to lessen your isolation and get you outside – whether it’s for a simple walk or a trip to the park to play. Dogs are an excellent icebreaker and a great way to strike up a conversation with someone you may not have spoken to otherwise, helping you get to know the people in your neighbourhood better. Dog parks are also a great place for both you and your dog to socialize. You can connect with other pet owners there and arrange future dog dates or hikes.
They keep you present: Engaging with your pet forces you to be present, which is a great way to not only appreciate the moment you’re in, it’s also a great distraction from things that are stressing you out. Rather than sitting and fixating on an issue, you’re focused on your furry friend, enjoying their company, feeling calm and happy and lessening your feelings of stress in the process.
They lessen loneliness: Your pet makes for an excellent domestic companion, especially when you live alone. In times when you’re feeling down, have you ever noticed that your pet finds you and stays with you? That’s because it’s intuitive for them to comfort you when they sense that you’re sad.
They give you purpose: Knowing that you need to wake up every day and take care of another living thing can give you a great sense of purpose, particularly in times when you may feel as though your life has no clear direction. It also helps you focus on something other than yourself, and your pet’s love in return for your care will provide a feeling of great satisfaction.