We all know that stress is a leading cause of health issues in the world today. It can cause a multitude of problems such as difficulty sleeping, eating problems, and elevated heart rate. Over time, high stress levels may lead to even more serious ailments like stomach ulcers and high blood pressure. Everyone needs a way to destress. Some find that through exercise or meditation, but a furry friend may be a great help to many.
Research shows that owning a pet can help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and generalized stress. And this is not limited to the typical cats and dogs. Any and all pets are shown to bring a positive impact to their owner’s lives including fish, reptiles, and rabbits. All pets provide their owner with structure and companionship.
For example, a dog can provide a lot of help to a struggling owner. Dogs are not only playful creatures, but they are also highly attuned to human emotions. Even untrained dogs can sense when their owner is in distress, and they will offer comfort and distraction from the stressor. Petting a dog or other animal companion releases feel-good hormones in the brain, calming and relaxing a pet-owner.
Dogs also provide a chance for more exercise, as they are very active animals depending on the breed. Many dogs, especially puppies, need to go on walks and have ample playtime to burn up their natural energy. In humans, exercise releases chemicals in the brain that cause happiness and satisfaction, helping in stress relief.
Cats also help relieve stress in many ways. They love schedules, and they will remind their human when they need to be fed. For those with difficulty maintaining healthy eating habits, this can remind them when they need to eat. Cats possess a unique quality in their purr. Cats purr at a sound frequency that is known to stimulate healing in themselves and other creatures like their owners.
Even fish can help relieve anxiety and depression symptoms. Fish provide structure and responsibility as they must be fed daily, and their tanks need to be cleaned as often as weekly. For those with depression, this gives a sense of purpose and necessity, which can help them to realize their own worth and importance. Watching fish swim also relieves stress and anxiety, which is one reason many clinics and hospitals keep fish tanks in the lobby.
We humans, as highly emotional creatures, are very likely to become attached to animal companions. Many people count pets as members of the family. Their mere presence is often a comfort and reassurance. As opposed to people, pets will never judge or speak harshly, offering a safe space for vulnerability. This helps people to feel at ease and fully themselves, as their pet will always accept them fully.
Any pet can help manage stress and mental illness, from a goldfish to a Great Dane. Of course, a kitten won’t eradicate the need for a prescription or professional help. They simply supplement treatment and help bring joy and peace in everyday life. Pets offer boundless love and companionship even in the darkest of times.
A pet can make every day a little bit brighter. Consider taking a trip to the local shelter, and be sure to do plenty of research and select the pet that fits your needs and lifestyle. And if you already have a pet, be sure to give them the love and appreciation they deserve. You may not even realize all that your pet does to help you.