Are you thinking about reducing stress? For most of us, activities such as journaling, yoga, or meditation may come to mind. But believe me, a pet can be equally stressed-relieving as these activities.
Your furry friend also comes with many other health benefits and if you’re wondering what those are, we’ve included a few ways that pets reduce stress and improve health.
1. They Remind You to Take a Break
Stress tends to rapidly build up whenever you are on your feet, and before you realize it, you will have had a rough day without having a break. In due time, this pattern of behavior will either leave you stressed or exhausted. Your pet will help you calm down having a pet around as a companion can be important to many people. Some individuals use emotional support animals to help relieve medically severe conditions of stress or mental illness.
Speaking to a licensed therapist is the only way to find out if an emotional support animal is right for you. For this, you may check therapetic.org for mental health professionals offering a free confidential screening. You will probably need to travel with your pet after work, and the ESA letter will facilitate your journey. Dogs and cats have a unique ability to detect their owner’s stress levels, and they often sit beside their owner until the event subsides. Playing with your pet will shift your focus to other things, and when you interact outdoors, you will go home feeling much better.
2. Helps in Mood Improvement
For animal enthusiasts, it is impossible to remain in a sad mood whenever those loving puppy eyes lock eyes with yours or when that cat fur rubs against your hand. Besides social support, health benefits, and stress relief, research studies have proved that pets have a mood-enhancing property. A survey conducted on HIV AIDS patients revealed that infected men who owned pets were less likely to suffer depression. Research has also shown kids owning pets are more caring and playful, meaning your family life will be merrier. A pet is what you need to be more secure, and improve your daily mood.
3. Regulates Blood Pressure
There are drugs in the market that regulate blood pressure, but they are not as effective as pets in controlling tension or stress. Various studies have uncovered the positive psychological effects such as low blood pressure that is associated with social interaction between humans and animals. In the survey, touching was considered a significant component in regulating natural human cortisol levels (stress hormones).
4. Eliminates Negativity
You might find yourself thinking about that awesome time you shared with your friend when you are down and you end up feeling much better; well, thinking about your pet when you are feeling down can also create a similar effect. A certain study was done on some 100 pet owners and they were unknowingly exposed to negative experiences. Later on, they were requested to either note down their pet, best friend, or sketch a map of their learning institution. The study revealed that all participants who noted down either their best friend or pet were happy and had negligible negative feelings despite having undergone the negative social experience.
5. Provides Social Support
When walking after work, that pet could make you more approachable; hence, pedestrians would have a reason to stop and hold a conversation. Such conversations might increase the number of people you meet and allow you to meet new friends which can contribute to stress management therapy. This is extremely beneficial for individuals who require motivation in social interaction.
6. Aids in Relieving Stress
Peer-reviewed research has shown that your pet could help in relieving stress way more than your social circle. There is power in talking about your problems with a close friend who happens to be a great listener, but studies reveal that talking to a pet could be the best remedy. A particular study revealed that when conducting a stressful task, most people tend to experience reduced stress levels when their pets are around compared to when their spouse or a close friend surrounds them. The possible reason could be the fact that pets never nudge their owners; they show lots of love.
7. Encourages People to Move
After a hard day at work, most pet owners love walking their pets, and it’s common sense that dog owners spend more time walking compared to those who don’t own dogs. Pet owners will tell you how much they enjoy walking their furry friends and how they feel like they are part of their family. Exercises are right for your health and stress management and having a pet can help in increasing these benefits.
8. Reduces the Chances of Having Allergies
It’s a great misconception that having a pet increases your chances of having an allergy. Well, some studies have proved otherwise and they claim that being exposed to pets in your early life stages could, later on, reduce your chances of having the said allergy. A research conducted among youths who owned pets ever since they were infants, over 50% were unlikely to have an allergic reaction when in contact with the pets.
9. Provides Unconditional Love and gets rid of loneliness
Pets will be there for you even when friends may desert you, offering you companionship and love. When you arrive home from the job, you can always enjoy your pet’s silence and the fact that they can keep secrets. Pets are known to be an effective antidote to loneliness, and in a particular study, patients were observed to be less lonely on the few occasions when dogs visited them. On the contrary, they were slightly lonely when people and dogs visited at the same time. These benefits help reduce stress levels among people who lack social support and feel isolated from society.
Even with all of their benefits, having a pet isn’t for everyone. They come with added responsibility and additional work that could even result in more stress. For most pet owners the benefits tend to outweigh the drawbacks and it would be advisable to have a companion who will help you relieve life’s many stresses, especially when you come home from work.