A furry friend will do your mental health some good, that according to studies. And no, the benefits are not limited to our furry companions; pets, in general, have a tremendous impact on our mental health.
To back that up is a lot of evidence supporting the idea that pet ownership is good for your mental health—that remains true even though research made on the topic isn’t randomized control trials.
But honestly, for those who have loved and had pets, science doesn’t have to show proof that our little or large companions have a positive impact on us—our pets are a great source of comfort and motivation.
But don’t underestimate the responsibility of having a pet—the chores are a life-long commitment. While that might be the case, the routine of these chores can be very grounding, and to some degree, gives our lives purpose.
How exactly do pets improve our mental health?
Life gets a little lonely sometimes, and when you have a pet, you are never truly alone. When you get home, you know that your pet, a friend, is there for you and that knowledge can be very comforting, secure even.
- Meeting A New Friend
A bonus is that a pet can be a great avenue to make new friends—a proper ice breaker. More so, if your companion is a dog. You can strike up a conversation with other dog walkers or people who stop to pet your dog; it’ll never be a dull moment when you have a pet.
- Mood Booster
Our pets do the darndest things, like being obsessed with cardboard boxes, being able to flush the toilet, a nifty trick of opening the fridge or simply falling on the ground for belly rubs. All of which can put a smile on your phone—triggering the “happy hormone,” oxytocin.
- Adding Structure to Your Day
A pet brings routine to our hectic life; having to feed, exercise, and care for a pet can provide you with some stability and predictability in your life. People with ADHD, depression, and anxiety can benefit from this structure and routine that a pet needs—having control of at least one aspect of their lives.
- Boosting Self-Confidence
Once in a while, we are down in the dumps; a pet nudging you out of your bed can alleviate your mood. On top of that, pets are a great source of unconditional love, great listeners, and, depending on your pet, non-judgmental. Besides that, dog walks or play sessions with your pet can be pretty comforting. For people with autism, having a pet could help them integrate sensory and learn social skills from their pets.
After reading the article, you might want to get a pet, but first, do you have adequate outdoor space, how active your lifestyle is, and how much time your lifestyle allows to have a pet. It would help if you also made a cost consideration, can you afford vet care and pet food. Pets are amazing and deserve the very best.