7 Ways Pets Support Mental Health

Many people think of their pet as a member of their family. People go to great lengths to keep their animals healthy and happy, and for good reason. As much as we love our pets, they benefit us too. Numerous studies have shown the positive impact pets can have on mental health. Animals help with depression, anxiety, and stress. They provide companionship and lessen loneliness. No wonder pets bring us joy and unconditional love.

Below are 7 ways pets support our mental health:

  1. Interacting with pets lowers our stress hormones. Just five minutes of petting and playing with animals reduces stress-related hormones, which can be helpful for anxiety sufferers.

  2. Our pets make us feel needed. Caring for another living thing gives us a sense of purpose and meaning, in addition to making us feel less lonely.

  3. Pets increase our self-esteem and wellbeing. Research has shown that people who own pets are less likely to be fearful, are more conscientious, and worry less.

  4. Pets also provide unconditional love that promote feelings of acceptance. Cats and dogs are great examples of being in the moment. Pets are playful and carefree, and they might help you to feel the same. Since our pets don’t worry about the past or future, they help people become more mindful.

  5. Pets support recovery from mental illness. Much like emotional support animals, pets help their owners manage and regulate their emotions, and distract them from their mental health condition.

  6. Pets help us build healthy habits. Caring for an animal helps people to build healthy routines. Owning a pet forces us to be more physically active, spend more time in nature, and get up early in the morning. All of these habits are proven to boost your mood and mental health.

  7. Pets help build relationship skills and support social connection. Dogs in particular are sensitive to their owner’s moods and emotions. However, research shows that children who grow up with any type of pet have an easier time building relationships with other people. In addition, pets counteract social isolation. People who own pets tend to be more socially connected because they have a common topic to talk about.

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