Why owning a pet is the key to reducing stress and anxiety

owning a pet is the key
Maggie Davies

In the words of Mark Twain: “If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.”

Our animal companions have the innate ability to offer us therapy that can’t be put into words. Without knowing it, they help us work through the broad spectrum of human emotions, and provide a psychological boost to our lives.

 

 

The Psychological Health Effects of Owning a Pet:

A Furry Oasis in a Chaotic World:

How can anything be bad when you wake up to a dog! The unwavering loyalty and unconditional love of your pet create an atmosphere of emotional stability that can actually combat stress and anxiety. It’s science. Being present with your pet releases oxytocin in your brain, a hormone that promotes feelings of relaxation and reduces stress levels. Dopamine and serotonin production is also boosted after a cuddle with your pet, and these neurotransmitters elevate our mood and foster a warm sense of safety and wellbeing.

Heartfelt Connections

You can truly be yourself around your pets, their non-judgemental nature create a safe space to be unconditionally loved. You’re truly never alone, and it’s been discovered that owning a pet helps combat feelings of loneliness. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute has found that more than 33% of of people older than 65, and 50% of those older than 85 live alone. Their research has established that pets are responsible for helping their owners create social connections within their communities, decreasing their loneliness when they are alone, and decreases their risk for developing depression. The medical community are catching on too, with many care homes, hospitals, and doctors are including animals in their treatment, due to their healing energy. In recent years, emotional support pets have become really popular, helping their owners with anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions to feel confident and supported when out in public. We owe so much to animals!

Unleashing the Power of Pet Ownership

Canine Companions: The Stress Relief Extraordinaire

The pattern of owning a dog can be equally beneficial to your physical health as it is your mental. It’s two-fold, exercise releases endorphins, which are your body’s natural mood boosters, while the act of walking itself allows us to take in the beauty of nature, a common method adopted in mindfulness practice. Taking your furry friend out for a walk also opens you up to the joys of your community. Luckily, dogs are social butterflies, even if you yourself aren’t. Dog lovers love to talk about dogs! Bonding over the silly behaviour of your pets is an easy way to meet new friends and boost your mental health!

Establishing a Routine:

One of the best things you can do for yourself and your pet is creating a consistent routine that you can both rely on! Regular feeding times, grooming, and exercise sessions not only provide your pet with the care they need to thrive, but it also lets you feel purposeful and responsible for them, bringing you a boost too. Routines can be like anchors for animals and people, offering stability and reducing anxiety. Grooming can be a particularly distressing part of the routine for your pet, but you can lessen the strain. Experts suggest that dedicated owners learn the best ways to care for their animal’s coat themselves, as it can create a calmer, less stressful environment for your pet. Distance animal care training specialist, Owen Smith, shared with My Pet Matters: “When you picture grooming your dog at home, you probably imagine chaos. It’s actually much easier than people think. Professional groomers are great, but it’s important for an owner to know maintenance habits so they can keep their pet’s teeth, nails, and coat healthy between visits.” It can also save you a lot of money if you find you have a knack for it! Studying an online dog grooming course is a lovely way to reduce your pets stress, in the same way they help you with yours. You can learn from the comfort of your own home all the techniques necessary to help your pet feel and look their best.

Pet Communities:

The internet is overflowing with animal lovers, and more often than not, they’re very friendly. By joining pet communities both online and offline, you’ll find yourself with more friends, and maybe even an adoring fan-club for your beloved pet. Connecting with like-minded individuals is a wonderful way to boost your mental health and create a new support network. Not to mention, allowing your pet to be social can be good for them too! Heading to local dog parks, keeping an eye out for pet-friendly restaurants, and volunteering at animal shelters are great ways to expand your social network of pet-lovers!

Unlocking a Happier, Stress-Free Life:

The emotional support, companionship, and unconditional love we receive from our pets is a wonderful gift! It can help us to see the light even in our darkest moments. Embracing the lessons we learn from our pets can show us more than we thought we knew, and we can pay back this kindness to them by being the best owners possible to them.

(Article source: Emma Murphy: Association of Learning)
(Image by Helena Sushitskaya from Pixabay)

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