How Dogs Improve Your Mental Health
Updated: May 3, 2022
There is no greater feeling than arriving home after a long day of work to be greeted by your excited furry friend. Pet owners everywhere love their pets and consider them part of the family. They treasure their companionship and enjoy playing with them, going for walks, and even talking to them. However, they are often unaware of the mental health benefits of owning an animal. Dogs, in particular, are one of the best support animals for anxiety and depression. Additionally, they can encourage exercise, reduce stress, ease loneliness, and improve cardiovascular health. Most importantly, they can add genuine unconditional love and joy to your life. Here is some more information on how dogs improve your mental health:
Can Dogs Improve Your Mental Health?
It’s not a secret that dogs can help contribute to feelings of happiness. Evidence shows that having an attachment to your pets is good for human health and helps build a stronger community. Moreover, studies emphasize that dogs reduce depression, anxiety, and stress; decrease feelings of loneliness; encourage physical activity and improve overall health. For example, dog owners are less likely to develop heart disease and tend to have lower blood pressure. Merely playing with a dog has been proven to raise levels of dopamine and oxytocin, feel-good brain chemicals that create positive feelings and bonding between the owner and their pet. Taking care of an animal can help children become more active and secure. Pets can be beneficial as we get older. In a survey on healthy aging, adults 50 or older, reported the following top 3 benefits of owning a bet:
A stronger sense of purpose
Increased social connection
Additionally, studies have proven the following:
Pet owners have less of a likelihood of suffering from depression than non-pet owners.
Pet owners have lower blood pressure during stressful situations than those who do not own pets.
Acording to one study, those when those borderline hypertension adopted dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure significanctly declined within the next 5 months.
Playing with a dog can elevate dopamine and serotonin levels, which calm and relax people.
Those who own dogs or other pets have lower levels of triglyceride and cholesterol, which are signs of heart disease, than people who don't have pets.
Patients suffering from heart attacks who have pets survive longer than those without pets.
Pet owners older than 65 make 30% fewer visits to the doctor than those who do not own pets.
Reduce Work-Related Stress
Pets can help decrease work-related stress. 2 out of 3 employees say that work stresses them out, while 40% say that their job hinders thier health. However, studies show that having pets in the workplace help improve employee satisfaction and reduce stress.
Pets can help you become more productive, regardless of where you work. When a dog joins of virtual meeting, group members rank their teammates higher on camaraderie, trust, and team cohesion.
Pets can help you manage your mental health issues. Today, more people than ever are struggling with their mental health or feeling anxious. Dogs, often known as a man’s best friend, provide great support and companionship. This can help those nervous going out into the world build self-confidence, ease anxiety, and feel comforted. Since pets usually live in the moment, with no worries about what happened yesterday or what could happen tomorrow, they can help you become more mindful and appreciate the joy of living in the present.
Pets can help you become more active. Studies show that dog owners have a higher likelihood of meeting their daily exercise requirements. Taking your dog for outside a walk or a game of fetch gives you a reason to get moving and get fresh air, which has been proven to improve your mental health, sleep, and overall mood. Furthermore, daily exercise is excellent for your dog as well. It will keep your dog fit and healthy, eradicate most of their behavior issues, and deepen your connection with them.
A Sense of Togetherness
Dogs can provide a sense of companionship. The bond you have with your pet helps you to feel less alone. When owners touch, talk to, hear, or see their furry companions, it brings them a sense of happiness, goodwill, nurturing, and joy. This can help prevent illness and increase the longevity of your life, while loneliness and isolation can promote symptoms of depression. You may feel wanted and needed while taking care of your pets, taking the focus off of your issues, particularly if you live alone. Most dog owners talk to their pets, and some even use them to help work through their problems. Furthermore, nothing conquers loneliness like coming home to a wagging tail.
Help You Meet New People
Pets can be an excellent social lubricant, helping their owners to begin and maintain new friendships. For example, dog owners often stop and talk to each other in a dog park or during walks and hikes. Additionally, fellow pet owners can meet each other in training classes, clubs, and pet stores.
Add Routine and Structure to Your Day
Regardless of whether you’re stressed, anxious, or depressed, you still need to get out of bed every day to exercise, feed, and take care of your pet. Like many other pets, dogs require regular exercise and a feeding schedule. Having a routine will keep your animal balanced and calm, which can work for you as well.
Provide Sensory Stress Relief
Touch and movement are 2 ways to manage stress quickly. Stroking a dog or other animal can lower your blood pressure, helping you to feel calmer and less stressed.
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