Under the Hood

How Pets Can Help You Cope With Mental Health Issues

A lot of studies conducted in the past have pointed out the magic our pets have in making us feel better. Our furry friends can help alleviate our anxiety, stress and depression. There is consolation in hearing little steps occupy the silence of the house, in feeling the slightly wet nose poking at your arm or in moments when the aching stillness of the world is cut short by the sudden leap of your animal companion.

Just by touching, sitting next to or playing with a pet, you can feel utmost comfort, turning emotional stress into untainted joy. The human-animal bond proves to have beneficial effects to our mental health, such as the reduction of subjective psychological stress and rise of oxytocin levels in the brain.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, pets help people live mentally healthier lives. Aside from reducing the repercussions of depression, companion animals can even help those with post-traumatic stress disorder and intense feelings of loneliness.

Today, people live in a world that embraces single-person households, and many have admitted that they suffer from isolation, one that is poignantly internal and cannot easily be remedied by interaction with other people.

In 2016, a study explored the pivotal role of pets in the social networks of individuals undergoing a long-term mental health problem and found that well-loved pets present a sense of security, as well as emotional and social support.

Furthermore, pets also reward people with a healthier lifestyle. Say, if you have a dog, you are made to incorporate brief walks into your daily schedule. Furthermore, human-animal bond presents other benefits that lead to vital companionships for aging people and children with learning disorders.

While a lot of pet owners are aware of the immediate joys that come with having a furry friend, many of us are still unfamiliar with the physical and mental health blessings they carry. It is important to start recognizing our pets for something more than just property. On that premise, when mental health plummets for whatever reason, pets can have exceptional restorative powers.

Dogs Poppy Pederson, daughter of Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers gets a kiss from their dog Blue during the annual Pups at the Park promotion day at Dodger Stadium on May 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images