Can Pets Improve our Mental Health?

March 7th, 2019

Pets can offer companionship and great comfort for people who are dealing with mental illnesses. Many people find that caring for and spending time with pets helps to reduce stress and anxiety. Scientists have even proven that interacting with a friendly dog reduces our levels of stress hormones. Petcover looks further into how Pets can improve our mental well being.

Sharing Problems

Discussing your issues helps to clear the mind and reduce anxiety. However, many people struggle to talk to others as it can make you feel as though you are a burden. Or you simply may not have someone that you feel comfortable sharing with. Talking through problems to a pet can be comforting as the pet will always be there for you and never judges.

Outside Exercise

Pets need daily exercise and trips outside. This encourages owners to get outside and get active. Sometimes getting out of the house can seem like too big of a task when suffering from depression or anxiety. But fresh air and exercise benefits the mind and body immensely. So having a pet which relies on you to take them outside can give the extra motivation needed to get out.

Brighten up your day

Quite simply, pets make you smile. Their lighthearted nature and fun loving personalities can fill you with joy and laughter. Grooming and stroking them is relaxing and helps to take the mind off the struggles you may be facing. Stroking pets actually lowers blood pressure, which reduces stress.

Purpose

Pets rely on you for everything. They need you to feed them, exercise them and love them. This gives a big sense of purpose and helps to make a person feel valued. Pets also need routine, which benefits humans as it helps towards maintaining good mental health.

Part of a Community

You may meet people in pet training classes, in online and offline breed groups or at dog parks. This keeps you socially connected and helps to make you feel less isolated. Conversations naturally spark up between pet owners or people who like your pet. Even a simple conversation with someone who walks past your pet can improve your day.

Children with ADHD and Autism

Taking on the care of a pet can help children with ADHD learn to play and be responsible. Playing with pets also helps to burn off energy which will help calm them later in the evening. For children with Autism, sensory activities with dogs can help them get used to the way things feel, and have a calming effect. Dogs give unconditional love with no judgment which children with ADHD and Autism can find comforting.

However, it is important for us to note that if you are suffering from severe depression or anxiety, a pet may not always be the right answer for you. Caring for a pet may be too much pressure for you to look after. Taking on a pet is a big responsibility which can be highly stressful for people with little time, money or energy. Alternatively, you can look into volunteering at a local animal shelter or offer to walk or pet sit for a friend or family member. This way you can reap the benefits without adding extra responsibility to your life.

 

The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the writer. Content published here does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Petcover.

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