Five Ways in Which Pets Boost Your Mental Health
Dogs are man’s best friend, and there’s no denying that. And the best part is, this is more than just an emotionally driven statement. It has the backing of science as reports from the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute says that the interaction between humans and animals benefits the mental and physical well-being of both. According to a survey, over 74% of pet owners reported an improvement in their mental health. That probably explains why over 90% of people consider their pets to be akin to a family member.
Another study by the University of Manchester in 2016 found that pets help people recover from mental illness. The study subjects were battling various forms of mental illness like depression, schizophrenia, PTSD, bipolar disorder, etc. Around 60% of the study subjects went on to count their pets among their strongest support circle.
A few studies on children with ADHD also show that kids tend to become more responsible and pay attention when they care for a pet—not convinced if you should get a pet? Here are five more ways in which a pet can boost your mental health.
Reduce blood pressure:
Excessive stress can shoot up your blood pressure and affect not just your physical well-being, but your mental health too. Petting animals and spending time with them lowers blood pressure better than most medicines. However, the best part is that it doesn’t have any undesirable side-effects that most drugs do have. One of the major reasons for this could be the fact that our body lowers the production of stress hormones when we are around pets. Your body also produces a lot of serotonin and dopamine while you play or watch a dog play. It thus helps you relax and feel happy while also reducing your blood pressure.
Several research shows that pets can sense depression and can help you feel better. Animals and birds are capable of reminding you that you’re not alone, and the unconditional love they have to offer will make you feel better. A few other research with cat owners found that the subjects found it calming when they were patting their cats.
Helps boost interpersonal relationships:
Having a pet around improves the ability of a person to read non-verbal cues better. As pets use their eyes and body to communicate their feelings to their kind and their human parents, the quality rubs off on people too. It thus helps humans perceive the non-verbal cues that their fellow human beings display in social situations, respond to those cues accurately, and foster healthy relationships.
Improvement in physical health:
When you have a pet, you’re bound to spend some time with him. And in that process, you end up going for a walk, running around the park, playing ball, etc. All of this boosts your physical activity and, thereby, your physical well-being. Pets help you have a fixed schedule and follow a routine. Human beings thrive on routine, so you are more likely to step outdoors and get some physical activity as a pet owner in comparison to someone who doesn’t have a pet.
Helps deal with anxiety:
The best thing that animals know is to live in the moment, and that spirit is infectious. Meaning, it will help you learn to emulate this kind of mindset as well, and you’ll soon be enjoying the present rather than worrying about what might be! This is the first step to overcoming anxiety attacks happen when you are always worried about the past or the future.
When we say pets, we don’t just mean cats or dogs. Research shows that watching your tiny turtle friend that those few steps slowly and gently or the swish movements of your fish in that aquarium tank relieves stress too. And not also forget the bird pals who show you how to sore high and touch the sky!
So, get yourself a pet pal today, and you’re sure to have company at all times. But remember, a pet is a life long commitment and not a temporary possession. Another fantastic thing you could do is to adopt rather than buy from a pet shop, that way, and you’re making life for another being while bringing in joy to yours too!
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