Celebrate Dog Appreciation Day!
Depression is a widespread issue in America that affects about 40 million adults. Fortunately, there are many ways that can help you feel better. Talking to a licensed counselor can make a big difference as well as medication, exercise, and having a healthy diet. However, did you know that dogs can also help in your emotional wellbeing?
Studies have shown that dogs can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression as well as ease loneliness, encourage exercise, and improve your overall health. Dog owners tend to have lower blood pressure and are less likely to develop heart disease. There are many benefits to owning a dog, here are just a few of the many benefits:
Exercise. Pets can help motivate you to have a daily healthy lifestyle. Dogs need exercise, which means you will be exercising right alongside them. Exercise increases endorphins, which in turn fights against depression. Having a daily routine of exercise and being consistent can help reduce stress levels and lead to better sleep patterns and overall health.
Socialization. Having a pet gives you a reason to talk to other owners at dog parks, which can help reduce the feelings of loneliness. Socializing and interacting with others has proven to decrease the symptoms of depression, especially for those who are 50 years and older.
Self-worth. Being responsible for a pet can help your mental health by building self-esteem. Taking care of a dog offers reassurance that you can care not only for another living creature but also for yourself. Caring for a pet gives you a sense of purpose, making you feel wanted and it can help take away your focus from depression.
If you love dogs but can’t afford to own a dog, try dog-sitting! There are many websites and apps that would allow you to do short dog walks, check-ins to daycare, and even dog boarding. Dogs can bring happiness into your life and depression is often no match for the unconditional love they can provide.