couple carrying puppy

Pets: The Natural Vitamins for Mental Health

Owning a pet teaches you a lot of things in life. It teaches you to become more compassionate and empathetic amidst everything. Having a pet also makes you realize a lot of values that benefit you in the long run: forgiveness and loyalty. Those are only two among many. Furry friends at your side also teach you how to live at the moment and stop holding grudges. To put it simply, they teach you a lot about one thing: patience.

Pets reduce the effects of stress

Moreover, living with the company of a furry friend also helps lessen the effects of stress after a long hard day’s work. A recent study has shown that petting cats or dogs helps lessen the cortisol levels of a person and reduces the stress they experience. The first studies of the correlation between pets and mental health showed that the following happens to a person when they pet a dog:

  • Slower heart rate
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Relaxed muscles
  • Regular, more normal breathing patterns

Furthermore, people also become a lot gentler and healthier when it comes to their well-being when their pets accompany them. Having one may seem like you will face a high-maintenance commitment, but it is so much more than that. Most people even consider their pets as a true part of their family. This helps them establish a significant connection with their pets. This also helps them become a better version of themselves without even realizing it. Pets are more than just four-legged creatures to feed.

Come to think of it; pets naturally bring joy into our lives. Pets such as dogs can be trained at home or enrolled in a board and train program for dogs. This develops them to become more of a friend to us rather than just another four-legged creature to feed. In a way, they also become our best friends. They help us overcome a lot of obstacles—even if you may only realize it later on. Animals have even made their way into the medical field. They are used in assisting practitioners and patients undergoing therapy. This is known as animal-assisted therapy. This is usually used for patients with emotional and behavioral issues. There are plenty of positive psychological effects that pets bring into our lives. It is no surprise that they are used to providing happiness and pleasure for patients that need a diversion from their stressors. The following are some ways having pets affect our mental health:

  • Pets make us feel needed. Whether we admit it or not; having someone who trusts us enough to need us makes us feel a sense of purpose in our life. Pets like being cared for, and in doing so, you are also reducing the feelings of isolation within you. This is good for the elderly population to lessen the loneliness they feel with age. It also decreases the possibility of them developing depression.
  • Pets are great motivators. Having pets at home requires you to be more physically active than you usually are. Caring for them is more than just a responsibility. The relationship you form with them only encourages you to spend more time with them. Playing with them makes you exercise more, which will lessen your feelings of weariness and depression.
  • Pets provide a sense of tranquility. When life gets too overwhelming, you can count on your furry friends to lift your spirits. Petting, smoothing out their fur, or just hanging out beside them is one way to boost your mood. The warmth and innocence they provide will be enough to pull yourself together, even when things fall apart.
  • Pets help develop good relationships. People who are comfortable interacting with their pets become a lot more empathetic in nature. This makes it easier for them to establish strong connections with other people. In a way, they also help us build our self-esteem and confidence in facing social interactions.
  • Pets help build a healthy lifestyle with you. As much as they contribute to the wellness of your mental health, they help you in all other aspects, too. Having pets makes you receive many benefits of exercise as you walk, run, and hike with them regularly. With that said, they also push you to get out of your house, drop your phone, and appreciate the feeling of being outdoors. They also help you develop greater time management and routines to start your day productively. In a way, taking care of a pet also makes us take care of ourselves more.

sleeping pet dog

Pets teach us how to love more

It is impossible not to be attached to your pets, as they love you wholeheartedly as their owners. They like seeing you happy. And in turn, you also develop a sense of keeping them happy. They teach us how to love more and express it in a healthy manner, which greatly affects our mental health. Our regular interactions with them create a sense of happiness in our brains, making us have a more positive outlook on life.

Having a pet is not easy, but it is not difficult either. The pros trump down the cons as they are beneficial to our overall well-being. If you already have a pet at home, then good for you! Remember to give them the ample amount of love and care that they deserve. If you are only still planning to have one, then go for it. One way or another, pets become our family, and they are the ones that would always stick with you no matter what happens.

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