Right now, we are living in a tough time. Most of us have to practice social distancing and stay at home for weeks without leaving. Being in this situation can force you in a very dark place mentally and emotionally, especially if you are an extrovert and crave to socialize every day.
Here’s where having a pet can help you keep your spirits up.
Have you ever noticed how watching a video with a dog failing to catch a treat or a cat falling off the counter makes you smile or laugh? This is how powerful the presence of a pet in your life can be, even if it’s indirect.
How does science explain this impact?
Let’s take a look.
1. Curing Stress
Alleviating stress is one of the reasons why we go on the internet to watch funny pet videos. There is, however, a deeper scientific explanation of our actions.
A study by Washington State University researched how interacting or just being around pets helps students during exam sessions. Patricia Pendry, the head of this research, noted that even 10 minutes of interacting with pets already had a significant impact on students.
The researchers noted that students who interacted with dogs and cats had lower cortisol levels. This study prompted universities around the U.S. to create therapy dog sessions for their students.
So, if you are a pet owner, you don’t have to look for something else to relieve your stress. Instead, have a homemade tuna patty cook-off party or learn your pet new tricks. This will help you relax and switch to positive thinking.
2. Relieving Depression
Owning a pet can have a larger effect on your mental health than relieving stress.
Some studies also claim that pets help alleviate the symptoms of depression. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 74% of pet owners say interacting with their pets improved their mental health, and 75% of pet owners reported that interacting with their pets helped a family member or a friend improve their mental health.
Why does it work in this case?
Scientists explain that this effect is possible due to an increased sense of security. “Pets establish a certain routine, which involves active lifestyle and interaction with others,” says Peter Hannigan, a researcher at Flatfy.
Another reason why people diagnosed with depression feel happier when interacting with pets is because of the bond formed between the owner and the pet.
That is why many therapists recommend people with depression to adopt a pet. Taking care of pets takes your mind off what’s disturbing you, helping relieve depression in the long run.
3. Increasing Activity
Pet owners, especially dog owners, know that a walk or some kind of physical activity is an inalienable part of their everyday life. While you aren’t always in the right mood to take your dog on a walk, having to do this activity is actually a blessing in disguise.
Studies have proven long ago that even a little exercise a day can make you feel happier. Research from Oxford and Yale has even indicated that exercise can make you feel happier than your economic status.
So, even 30 minutes playing with your dog either in your yard or inside your house can increase serotonin levels in your blood and make you feel happier and more accomplished, even if you’ve been sitting at house for weeks straight.
Become a Pet Owner!
Right now, you might need it more than you think.
Having an animal companion beside you, who is also a part of your family and who you look after, is definitely worth the effort and can make you feel happier even in the darkest of times.
Ryan is a passionate writer who likes sharing his thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, he works as content editor and internet researcher at https://flatfy.ro. He likes everything related to traveling and new countries.