By Amelia Ma, Guest Contributor
Getting your own pet is an amazing experience. Finally, after searching far and wide for the paw-fect companion, you’re ready to share your home with a four-legged family member. Though taking care of a dog or cat is a huge responsibility, there are plenty of benefits. Did you know that there are scientifically proven reasons why owning a pet makes you happy? Take a look at this list:
1. Great for Relieving Stress
With work, moves, and relationships, life can get pretty stressful. In addition to exercising, eating well, and talking to a professional therapist, pets can help you manage your stress. In fact, one study found that interacting with a pet can boost your production of dopamine and serotonin and help manage your anxiety and stress symptoms. When you get home from a busy day, nothing beats quality time with your fur-ever friend!
2. Decreases Your Blood Pressure
Unfortunately, one symptom of stress is high blood pressure. While high blood pressure can seem daunting, there’s a chance that getting a dog can actually help you get it under control. For instance, one study found that five months after adopting a dog, people with hypertension reported having a significant decrease in blood pressure levels.
3. New and Improved Sense of Structure
When you have a dog or cat, you have to devote a lot of time and energy to making sure they’re happy and healthy. Though this may seem overwhelming at times, these seemingly mundane tasks are actually giving your life a solid sense of structure. It’s been scientifically shown that having structure is beneficial for your mental health. Here are a few things you need to do for a cat or dog on a daily basis:
- Nutrition: In addition to a complete and balanced diet, supplements are great for your pet’s support joint, heart, immune and overall health.
- Emotional Support: Pets need some extra attention every now and then. For instance, when there’s a thunderstorm you pet may need helping calming down. There are also calming supplements that help support calm behavior in times of stress.
- Clean Up After Them: It’s no secret that pets can get a little messy. But you shouldn’t view cleaning up as merely a chore. You can make it a fun activity by playing some music and dancing around the house.
- Playing with Your Pet: Keeping pets stimulated and active can help ensure their happiness. With cats, you can dangle around toys and come up with exciting indoor games. On the other hand, dogs need regular walks and can go on adventures or play fetch.
4. Improves Your Mental Health
Did you know that studies have shown that people with pets generally have a more positive outlook? A crucial part to managing your mental health is embracing a sense of optimism. Having a positive outlook can help bring your life into sharper focus and you can see your issues for what they are. You will realize that no matter how tough things may seem, you will get through it with confidence.
5. Boosts Your Self-Confidence
Going through a tough time can take a toll on your self-esteem. There are so many things that are beyond our control. When you have a dog or cat, you can rebuild your self-esteem by reminding yourself of how you’re successfully managing a plethora of responsibilities. If you have a journal, you should take some time to write in it every day and remind yourself of everything you’re accomplishing. Even if you think taking care of a pet isn’t the biggest deal, it shows what you can achieve when you put your mind to it!
6. Great for Relationships
Taking care of a dog or cat provides numerous lessons that can apply to our relationships with other humans. For instance, you have to be attentive and understand the nuances of this other being’s moods. You will be surprised to see what this furry creature can teach you about empathy and addressing someone else’s concerns.
At the end of the day, this is a relationship based on unconditional love. Even though you may get frustrated with your pet at times, you still love them of course. Understanding this can be a great step to improving your relationships with friends, co-workers, partners, and family members.
7. More Socialization
On the other hand, if you are feeling isolated, having a dog or cat can help you strike up connections with new people. Here are a few opportunities for socializing:
- Park Meet-Ups: Dog owners sometimes meet up at parks for play dates. Check social media to see if an event is happening near you.
- Dating Apps: On apps, it can be hard to truly get a sense of someone’s interests. By including photos of your dog or cat on your social media, you can connect with people who also love their pets. You’ll have something to talk about from the get-go!
- Walking Around the Neighborhood: Walking your dog around the block can also be a chance to meet new people. Just smile and keep an open mind!
- Going to The Vet: When you take your cat or dog to the vet, you can make new friends in the lobby. You can talk about a variety of things, ranging from medication to food.
There are plenty of reasons why having a pet is fantastic for your mental health. In addition to providing you with company, your dog or cat can help you gain a sense of responsibility and purpose. Of course, let’s not forget about the cuddles and kisses, too!
About the author:
Amelia Ma is a freelance writer from Burlingame, California. She enjoys writing articles for professionals that are interested in self-improvement, health, and wellness. In her spare time, you can find her exploring local coffee shops in search of a new favorite.