Pets! They are such wonderful sources of unconditional love, support, and connection. Research has shown that having a pet can be helpful for your mental and physical health. They provide much more than just companionship, as they can help reduce your stress levels and blood pressure, helping your mental health, and lowering chronic pain.
Pets can have a calming effect by just being in the same room. They help release oxytocin, a powerful neurochemical that brings us feelings of joy, and decreases our cortisol levels. There are a several physical benefits which come with having a pet, from relieving stress, lowering our blood pressure to increasing our physical activity. However, pets can do more than help improve our health! They can help us with our social and emotional skills, reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and improve our mood.
Scientist have been studying the potential physical and mental health benefits from different animals- from fish to guinea pigs to dogs and cats. Owning a pet can provide different benefits depending on your goals. If your goal is to increase your activity levels, then owning a dog would get you walking a little more. If your goal is to reduce stress, then mindfully taking the time to watch a fish swimming would increase your feelings of calmness.
Animals can be a source of comfort and support; therapy dogs are often used to reduce patient’s stress and anxiety in hospitals. Dogs in particular very present. Attention, intention, compassion, and awareness are all things that animals can bring to us humans. The use of support animals has become more common in our everyday lives. This is because pets have a positive effect on mental health by encouraging emotional connectivity, and helping people manage emotions through hard times.
Here are some photos of my lovely Vanessa (She is a very cheeky Chihuahua who loves adventure and likes to think she’s bigger than she is!)