Guest post: Have you ever wondered why compilations of videos with pets get those millions of views? The answer is obvious, you will say, they are funny and cute. And that is true. But what if we say there is more to that? What if animals are key healers when it comes to one’s mental health? Researchers acknowledge the therapeutic worth of our connection with pets, especially dogs.
Pet owners know this for sure. At some point, these fluffy buddies turn from “just funny animals” and “those we have tamed” into real family members. And, like family members, they affect our physical and mental health. So let’s see how the most loyal ones — dogs — help our well-being.
Dogs vs. Stress
Traffic jams, deadlines, anxiety, working long hours, pessimistic news. Whatever the reason for struggling, the stress is getting all over us. Now, imagine having a fluffy anti-stress on four paws by your side. Dogs adapt their behavior to the owner’s lifestyle, and in some cases, they are able to interpret the communication signals. So by the change of our moods, gestures, looks and emotions, they understand when something is happening. After all, they did live long enough and close to people.
There is strong evidence that dogs improve heart function during stressful situations by lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Even when you just pet the doggy, your pulse will normalize. And this, in turn, reduces the negative effects of stress.
But I have allergies, you say. What do I get from a dog if I can’t even pet it? No need for petting, we will answer! A study found that simply having a dog in a room lowers blood pressure better than taking a popular anti-stress drug.
Work, worry, repeat
Sounds familiar? If you experience constant nervousness and fear before university class or work, we are talking about anxiety. Living with a constant sense of fear is very energy-consuming. It’s like another job. Luckily, there are tons of ways to deal with it.
Let’s say you can reduce the load by not being so hard on yourself or by getting writing help. For example, Edubirdie can create a perfect essay for you. Thus, some part of the educational load will fall off your shoulders. But man’s best friends can do the same — and dogs help with anxiety effortlessly. According to scientists, they are able to soothe and divert attention from obsessive thoughts about college difficulties.
Researchers noticed this during the experiment. Weekly, three hundred students spent an hour “therapy” with dogs. The four-legged walked with the youth on the territory of educational campuses. After such meetings, students were positively charged to work during class. Another observation says “audience dogs” help students reduce anxiety over public speaking.
Feel enthusiastic about adopting a dog yet?
Dogs & sports
One of the benefits of having a pet is that they push you to physical activity. And that also helps with mental health. How so? Firstly, people consume less information when walking a dog and generally sit on the phone. Secondly, you directly concentrate on your pet and forget about daily troubles. Thirdly, it is easier for dog owners to meet new people and make friends on walks — and socialization makes us happier.
So if earlier humans used animals for protection or hunting, today it is primarily an emotional background and contact. For lonely people, this helps not to become depressed.
There is no quick fix for mental health issues, but if you seek something to ease these problems, dogs are answered. It is unlikely that these caring animals will seriously upset you. But there will be many cases when they support and help you get through a difficult period, just by being around. That is how animals help us, humans.