From providing us with companionship to bringing us joy, animals always find a way to improve our lives. In fact, not only do pets love you unconditionally, but having a pet can actually improve your mental health! Pets provide many benefits to their owners and their families. In fact, The American Psychological Association has found that having a pet, “can serve as important sources of social and emotional support.”
Sure, pets can make a mess from time to time, but they keep us smiling and laughing daily. By lowering the stress hormone, cortisol, and raising the happy chemicals, dopamine and serotonin, animals decrease depression and anxiety symptoms.
In today’s fast-paced and tech-driven world, more people are feeling isolated than ever before. Having a pet can decrease your sense of loneliness. Not only do pets provide you with company and nonjudgmental friendship, but they also foster a sense of connection. Many people see their pets as their family. They allow you to feel loved, wanted, needed, and appreciated, which can improve your self-esteem and boost your confidence.
For those struggling with their mental health, pets can be a reason to get out of bed each day. Animals can help you get that much-needed Vitamin D and fresh air by forcing you to go outside. This may even give you the opportunity to develop more human connections. Your animal may encourage you to make friends at the dog park or to plan a pet play date (which also ends up as a people play date!).
There is no doubt that having a pet helps your mental health and transforms your home into a happy place! Sure, they're not therapists (yet), but animals are professionals when it comes to providing emotional support. Many pets are highly attuned to their owners' moods, and know just what to do to make them happier! Grab your furry friend and give them a big hug; they deserve it after all they do for you!
And if you've been thinking about adding a furry friend to the family, stop by your local animal shelter—it's a great thing you can do for your mental health, and to save an animal’s life along the way.
Written by: Desiree Argentina