Mental Health: How Your Pets Can Improve Well-being
Being a pet parent goes beyond having a cute, lovable, and furry companion. Pets impact our mental well-being positively; offering comfort, support, and a sense of purpose and responsibility. Scientific studies have shown that the connection formed between humans and their pets has remarkable mental health benefits.
According to WHO Mental health is defined as:
A state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community.
Once an individual is incapable of coping with the stress that comes with living, the person’s mental health is deemed to be in the red zone. Look at this fact sheet from WHO below;
Depression is one of the leading causes of disability.
Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds.
People with severe mental health conditions die prematurely – as much as two decades early – due to preventable physical conditions.
But thank goodness we have our furry friends around to relieve us of the many stresses that come with our daily life struggles.
In this blog post, we will explore the possible ways in which pets can rightly influence one’s mental health, also providing an insightful understanding of the therapeutic effect of pet animals.
How Your Furry Friend Can Improve Your Mental Health
1. Pets Provide Companionship And Emotional Support
Pets like dogs, cats, horses and bunnies are reputable for their undying companionship. They offer unconditional love and acceptance to their humans, helping to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. By spending time with a pet, your stress levels, anxiety, and depression begin to drop. Their presence releases oxytocin, a hormone that promotes feelings of happiness and relaxation. Unlike humans, pets are non-judgmental in nature creating a safe space where you can express your emotions without being criticized.
2. It Is Bye-Bye To Stress And Anxiety
Daily life hurdles life can lead to extreme levels of stress and anxiety. Fortunately, your furry friend is a natural panacea. Snuggling and cuddling with your pet have been proven to lower blood pressure and reduce cortisol (a stress hormone). The rhythmic motion of the cuddles and the tactile sensation, that is, your hands or body in direct contact with the furry coat of your pet provides a calming effect, leading to feelings of tranquility and relaxation. Additionally, the idea of caring for a pet comes with a sense of purpose and responsibility, which is a necessary distraction from any form of stress.
3. Puts Your Body In Shape With Regular Exercise
Physical fitness exercise is so essential for maintaining good mental health and improving quality of life. The presence of a pet invariably encourages physical activity, due to the fact that they require regular walks, playtime, and interaction. Again, a necessary distraction! When you engage in physical activities with your pet, your body releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Whether it’s in the form of playing fetch or going for a light walk, the connection formed during these times contributes to a sense of all-around fulfillment and improved mental wellness.
4. Pets Encourage Social Connections And Reduce Self Isolation
Pets are social facilitators. They help facilitate bonds with other individuals in your social circle. Try to take your pet for a walk or visit a pet-friendly place and watch how much of interactions you would have with fellow pet owners. It alleviates feelings of loneliness. Our furry friends make great conversation starters, providing you with a sense of belonging to your community. These social connections at the end of the day enhance your overall mental well-being and provide emotional support outside what your pet proffers.
5. An Extra Spice For Your Mental Health And Emotional Well-Being
Studies have shown that owning a pet increases serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain– Neurotransmitters associated with happiness and pleasure. As earlier stated, petting or cuddling with your pet releases these “feel-good” chemicals that improve your overall emotional well-being. Pets are a source of joy, laughter, and entertainment. They help to reduce feelings of sadness, depression, or emotional crisis.
Pets fuel your happiness and improve your mental health. The companionship, unconditional love, and emotional support provided by pets positively impact your well-being. You should consider opening your heart and home to a furry friend today! And experience the incredible healing power they bring to your life.