Our pets are some of our greatest companions and most loved family members. They bring us unbridled joy each and every day, and there is never a time when they aren’t happy to see us. For many of us, they are also the best to have around when your mental health isn’t quite as good as it could be.
As someone who suffers from mental health conditions, my dog has been my saving grace more times than I can count, but if you are wondering how your pets can help you when you aren’t feeling right, this is the place to be.
#1 Pets and Depression
Depression is a condition that has struck many people, and there are days when it feels like nothing is going to be good. Just sitting and stroking your pet has been shown to release endorphins that provide you with a sense of relaxation and pleasure, helping to ease your mind a little.
They also encourage you to go out, especially in the case of horses and dogs, because they need to be exercised – and just going out for a walk can help your ongoing battle. Plus, the daily care that you give them leaves a sense of achievement and pride, giving you purpose as well as the feeling of being valuable and needed.
#2 Pets and Anxiety
Anxiety can be crippling, but similarly to depression, stroking your pet can leave you feeling calmer and more secure, relaxing the mind and helping to soothe your anxiety a little. Many pets can sense things like anxiety attacks and will often move closer as a sign of affection, to let you know that they are there. This display of love can also have a positive effect on the mind, and the anxiety. Similarly, caring for them and taking them for a walk can help to take your mind off anxious thoughts and fears.
#3 Pets and Loneliness
Your pet provides you with companionship, easing feelings of loneliness and insecurity because they are a constant friend and someone who is always close. If you own a dog or a horse, walking/riding them means that you will often come across others who are doing the same, sparking conversation and often leading to a daily meeting where you walk or talk for a short while each day. A few social relationships, even if they are only with fellow pet owners can help to build a stronger mentality and improve your mental health.
#4 Pets and ADHD
Children and adults alike who have ADHD can benefit from caring a pet. It puts a routine in their lives, with things like a feeding and walking schedule that they need to adhere to for the wellbeing of the animal. Plus, all pets need exercise, and it is the perfect way to release extra energy – which is both enjoyable for both the pet and the person. A Healthy energy release can also lead to improved concentration thanks to the increased blood flow.
Plus, pets make the greatest listeners and will never judge anyone for having too much energy and often make the best way to keep someone calm. Their unconditional love makes them the perfect companions for those with ADHD.
#5 Pets and Autism
Autism is a spectrum, and while different things work for different people, the calming nature of pets has remained a constant throughout studies. All pets can help with sensory integration so that they get used to the way things feel against their skin, how things smell, and the different sounds they might experience.
There are many dogs who are trained to sense when a person with autism is about to have a meltdown and they work to calm them in the way that they have been trained is best, helping to ease their owner’s fear and stress so that they can return to a state of calm.
Much of the time, they build a stronger bond with their pet than they do people, as their animals are the best and most understanding companions they could ask for, and ones that do not judge. Many studies are being carried out on the benefits of pets and autism, but the results appear to be promising so far.
About the Author
Will is a freelance writer, . If you are interested in more information on the benefits of dog ownership including health tips, buyers guide’s and gear reviews, then check out his guides over at Dogowner.co.uk