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How Pets are Good for Our Mental Health

Pets

Anyone who has had a pet understands the simple joy they bring into your life. Thereís a reason they call dogs a manís best friend. They are amazing companions that provide unconditional love. When you have a pet, thereís someone always happy to see you when you get home. A pet give purpose and meaning to your life. Pets can have a positive impact on our overall mental health. Having a pet, especially a dog or cat, can relieve stress, anxiety, and depression. They also give us companionship which relieves loneliness. However, pets can come in all different shapes and sizes, not just dogs. Many pets can have a positive influence on our well-being.

Pets increase your overall quality of life by helping you make healthier lifestyle choices. Having a healthier lifestyle helps relieve stress and many symptoms of mental health conditions. Here are some ways pets can promote a healthier lifestyle making you happier and healthier.

Exercise

Certain pets, especially dogs, will require exercise so youíll have to make the effort to take them for walks or runs regularly. People who own pets tend to be more active because of this. Therefore, they are getting the regular exercise their body needs. Exercise is not only good for your physical health, but your mental health as well. Exercise reduces the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, while also boosting endorphins which are the feel-good hormones.

Companionship

Having a pet provides individuals with companionship they may not have otherwise. Having a constant companion relieves loneliness and symptoms of depression. When we provide and care for another being, in this case a pet, we feel needed, which gives us purpose. This is very beneficial to our mental well-being.

Reduce Anxiety

Having a pet as a companion can provide comfort and relieve anxiety. Petting or playing with a pet can ease stress related hormones like cortisol in our bodies. It also increases dopamine and serotonin, which are hormones that make us feel calm and happy. Pets give their owners unconditional love which also stimulates those happy hormones.

Add Structure to Your Day

Having a pet gives us purpose and adds meaning to our lives. Your pet needs you to care for them. Most likely your pet is on a feeding and bathroom schedule, so you have a bit of a routine.  Having structure in our lives gives us familiarity and a sense of control. This in turn can reduce stress levels. A structured day also makes us more productive and organized. These things are all beneficial to our mental health.

Increase Social Interaction

Pets can be a great way to meet new people. They also are great at relieving social anxiety. When youíre alone with your pet at a park, they become a topic of conversation. Itís also easier to connect with other pet owners as you share something in common. Humans need social connections and a sense of belonging for a healthy mental state. Healthy social connections give us better self-esteem, decrease anxiety and depression, among other things.

Bottom Line

Pets are great companions that provide unconditional love and ultimately better your mental health. If youíre experiencing any emotional distress, a pet could be an excellent addition to your life. However, pets require time and effort. A pet may not be for everyone. If this is the case for you and a pet doesnít fit your lifestyle, it may be beneficial to talk to a therapist. They can provide you with support and guidance to better your mental health. MyTherapist is an online counseling platform that will match you with a licensed therapist that best suits your needs.

About Author: Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with MyTherapist.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression..