Life has a way of testing us. It throws us curve balls and forces us to adapt and grow as human beings. Often, the trials and tribulations of life have a great impact on our mental health. Many will turn to meditation or yoga to seek solace and relaxation. However, many may be unaware of the mood-boosting power our furry friends possess.
Dogs and cats especially have been proved to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve our cardiovascular health. Our beloved pets also provide valuable companionship and can add joy and unconditional love to your life.
Studies have found:
- Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
- People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets. One study even found that when people with borderline hypertension adopted dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure declined significantly within five months.
- Playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
- Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets.
- Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.
- Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.
- While people with pets often experience the greatest health benefits, a pet doesn’t necessarily have to be a dog or a cat. Even watching fish in an aquarium can help reduce muscle tension and lower pulse rate.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help combat symptoms of depression such as anxiety, stress, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. Having a pet in your life can also attribute to maintaining a healthier lifestyle through an increase in exercise, helping you meet new people, and establishing a routine to your day.
When you decide to expand your family by adopting from a shelter, not only are you giving this animal a second chance at life, but you are having a positive impact on your own.