In Praise of Pets

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Photo by Krista Mangulsone on Unsplash

By Natalie Stamper, Psy.D

People everywhere cherish their pets for being cute and cuddly. They’re not only adorable, but they can also improve our physical and emotional health. There are several ways that pets are beneficial to people, on both the chemical and emotional levels. Various studies have been conducted testing this assertion, providing plentiful evidence of how animals are good for you.

To begin with, playing with cats or dogs, for example, can increase our serotonin and dopamine levels. These hormones can relax our nervous system and, whenever we laugh or smile with our pets, they are released into our system, promoting happiness.

Results from a 2016 study have found that caring for pets can reduce depression, loneliness, and anxiety (Monroe). Pets tend to live in the moment, not look back on the past or worry about the future, a display of mindfulness. Additionally, pets can counter social isolation and social anxiety, giving people a common topic to discuss.

Furthermore, research from Buffalo University in New York found that pet owners are much less susceptible to stress and its adverse effects in the presence of pets. Time and again, pets have shown to positively impact stress levels, as shown by numerous studies on individuals working in high-stress environments. One can get carried away, forgetting the time and enjoying the company of their furry companion. That sort of unconditional love received from pets is what people seek in managing personal relationships and emotional connections.

The bottom line is that we have a lot to learn from our furry friends. They excel in alleviating our negative emotions and can brighten our day in seconds. There is no similar feeling to coming home to an enthusiastic pet. They have plenty of love to give and receive. Animals are more than capable of assisting you in fulfilling your social and emotional needs.


References

Monroe, Jamison. “10 Ways Pets and Mental Health Go Together.” Newport Academy, Newport Academy, 4 June 2018, www.newportacademy.com/resources/well-being/pets-and-mental-health/.

“Homepage.” AXA PPP Healthcare, AXA PPP Healthcare, 5 June 2017, www.axappphealthcare.co.uk/health-information/mental-health/resilience/8-physical-and-mental-health-benefits-of-having-a-pet/.

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