The connection of a pet to your mental health
Do you have a pet or had a pet at some point in your life? Can you recall how much joy & happiness your pet brought to your life? I know I know...pets can also be a headache, too. However, the pros to having a pet definitely outweighs the cons for sure. For those who don't like pets, are allergic to certain pets, or just never had the desire to own one, I highly recommend it.
I recently got a pet, a Pitbull/Golden Retriever mix, about a week ago and named her Cali. She's a six week-old black and white spotted fur baby with a lot of personality. Miss Cali is a hand full from house training her to cleaning her cage countless times because of pee/poop 🤮; however, I wouldn't change it for anything. My fur baby has brought so much joy to my life that I didn't know was missing. I grew up having pets from fish to dogs so I've always desired to have a pet of my own someday.
I heard on the radio one day that pets can contribute to a person's mental health in a positive way. I sorta already knew this but I didn't know in what capacity so I turned to google and started researching the connection. According to Helpguide.org, pets, especially cats and dogs, can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, pulse rate, muscle tension, and so much more. They can also encourage you to exercise and improve your attitude.
According to Helpguide.org, the below are some helpful information as it relates to the connection of a pet to your mental health. Studies have shown that:
Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
Pet owners are more likely to have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets.
Playing with a cat or dog can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calms and relaxes us.
Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than those without pets.
Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without pets.
One of the many reasons for these benefits is because pets fulfill the human need for touch. From hugging, petting, and any other type of touching of a pet, pet owners experience an immediate sense of calmness and relief, especially after experiencing a stressful situation. In addition to the human need of "touch", humans also like companionship. Pets are very good at serving the purpose of companionship reducing the likelihood of someone feeling lonely, which reduces depression.
There's lifestyle change benefits to owning a pet, too. Like having a baby, there's so many things that change a person's life. According to Helpguide.org, the below are some benefits a pet can have to someone lifestyle change:
Increase exercise: Having a pet like a dog can increase your ability to workout on a consistent basis. Whether you take your dog for a walk, run, or hike, you are likely to 1) fulfill your exercise needs, 2) keep your dog fit and healthy, and 3) deepen the connection between you and your dog.
Provide companionship: This is a great benefit especially for someone who suffers from isolation and loneliness resulting to depression. Pet owners often talk to their pets and even confide in their pets as they are great listers 😉
Reduce anxiety: Pet owners often say their pets provide them a sense of relief and reduces their anxiety levels significantly. Pets don't worry about yesterday or tomorrow's worries but rather they live in the moment. This mindset can teach many pet owners to live in the present which reduces anxiety.
DID YOU KNOW: According to mhanational.org, a 2016 study explored the role of pets in the social networks of people managing a long-term mental health problem and found that pets provide a sense of security and routine that provided emotional and social support.
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Watch this inspiring video on how pets can contribute to mental health!
Look at photos of Miss Cali