Feeling Stressed? How Pets Lift Our Mood & Help Us Heal
Animals play a huge role in so many people’s lives and there’s no doubt that coming across a cute puppy or kitten brings an instant smile, but how deep that “good feeling” goes is the real question. We know the benefits of service animals like seeing-eye dogs, or dogs that can detect seizures or sense blood sugar spikes for diabetics. There’s also animals used in occupational therapy, speech therapy or even physical rehabilitation that assist in patient recovery. Aside from these tested therapeutic benefits, animals are companions that easily boost the quality of life for their owners. But how beneficial is their companionship to our health?
“We found that pet owners, on average, were better off than non-owners, especially when they have a higher-quality relationship with their pets,” says pet researcher Allen R. McConnell, PhD.
Most pet owners will agree that a snuggle session with their cat or dog after a hard day at work can provide calming and relaxing feelings right away. Research has shown the incredible power animals have on physical health almost instantly. Companion pets have shown positive results in helping lower blood pressure and regulating the heart rate, which raises the thought that pets might help in lowering the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases down the line.
The presence of pets also plays a large role in your fitness levels. A person with a dog is more likely to be more in-shape and active than someone who doesn’t have one. Taking them out on their daily walks might not be the same as an intense workout at the gym but it gets your body moving, exposes you more to fresh air and vitamin D (during the day). Additionally, if you include backyard fetch sessions or a run in the park, you’re increasing that amount ten-fold.
Children and pets provide an incredible look at how beneficial and animal friend can truly be. Research has shown children raised with pets are more confident, kind, and caring. They show more levels of empathy and compassion compared to kids who were not brought up around animals. This is probably due to the fact of being exposed to the responsibilities of taking care of something at such a young age. At the end of the day a happier kid mean happier parents and overall positive family functioning.
Studies have also shown that children exposed to animal interaction at a young age develops their immune system much stronger than kids who have not been exposed. This is due to the fact that kids are not afraid to hug and kiss their sometimes not-so-clean pet, which helps keep their immunity supercharged by warding off diseases at a constant level. By increasing the immune system at such an early stage in someone’s life the chances of developing allergies and auto-immune diseases also are decreased tremendously.
The mood boosting, anxiety-reducing benefits of animals are also another interesting factor to consider when discussing the human-animal relationship. The presence of a friendly animal is likely to ignite serotonin levels, which is otherwise known as the “happiness hormone.” Positive hormone regulation and anything that heightens feelings of well-being is always beneficial in the quality of overall health. The power of good vibes is incredibly crucial to so many things in the body even all the way down to a molecular level.
• It Stimulates nerve connections growth in the brain
• It increases mental productivity which improves the stability of thoughts and emotions
• Highly elevates your ability to analyze and think.
• Affects your overall view of surroundings.
• Increases attentiveness.
• Leads to more positive thoughts
“Happy brain, happy life” is what they say and animals can definitely assist in elevating that truth.