Hey, pet-parents! You most probably could relate to the title which is why we find you here, right?
Consider this: after a long, hectic day at work, you take a ride back home and as you reach your doorstep, you can hear your pet rustling inside. Even before you turn the key in the knob, you know your pet is waiting for you on the other side. As the key clicks, you don’t open the door to your home; you open the door to Nirvana. Your furball hopping around you, wagging his tail and licking your face is way more relaxing than watching Netflix in bed with an ice cream sundae.
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The bond between humans and animals is really powerful and the positive correlation between pets and mental health is undeniable. Besides being loyal companions, pets bring us joy and unconditional love. Let’s now look at a few of the innumerable ways how pets and mental health go together.
1. BYE-BYE, STRESS!
A scientific study proves that spending time with your pet can result in slowed heart rate, regular breathing, relaxed muscle tension, all of which are signs of reduced stress. Playing with them or simply, just sitting with them releases serotonin and dopamine which help calm and relax the nervous system. Interacting with your pet reduces the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. No wonder why pets are called a great stress buster!
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2. “PUT ON YOUR WALKING SHOES, MOMMY!”
As a pet-parent, you must be well aware of how important regular walks are for your furr-babies. Taking them out for a walk ensures your physical activity. This not only improves your physical fitness but also has a positive impact on your mental health.
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3. A BETTER SOCIAL LIFE
While you’re strolling around, you must have bumped into an animal lover who would’ve wanted to pet your mushy, little pooch. Your pet raises your chances of socializing with new people. If you’ve always been an introvert, your mutual love for animals can be a great ice-breaker and bring out the extrovert in you.
Your pets make you feel loved in every way possible. Remember the last time you got up to get a glass of water and your pet followed you to the kitchen? It can make anyone feel loved and accepted. The mere presence of pets around one can help people battle depression and anxiety. Spending time with them releases happiness hormones which is why emotional support pets are widely accepted as complementary therapy along with traditional counselling and treatment. Having a pet to care for makes you feel needed and wanted and gives the pet-parent a sense of purpose.
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4. “YOU GOT A FRIEND IN ME”
The best thing about pets? The way they constantly shoot us with their unconditional love. They make a loyal companion and help fight loneliness with the love and warmth they offer. You must’ve noticed how your pet shares in your excitement of a hike on a warm spring evening or curls up in your lap for a cuddle when you’re feeling low. You don’t need words to explain your problems to them for they sense your mood and cheer you up with their mere presence.
5. THERAPIST v2.0
To all the animal lovers who don’t have a pet: if a pet’s contribution to an improved mental health tempts you enough to adopt one but you still can’t due to any reason, fret not. You can spend time with your friends’ pets or at an animal rescue shelter. Besides, stray animals always wait for you with their *puppy eyes* and a bigggg heart. Don’t forget to pet their heads and rub their bellies.
Ciao, pet peeps!