How Pets Can Support Your Mental Health
If you’re an animal lover, you know how uplifting it can be to spend some quality time with a pet. Did you know that spending time with animals can actually help with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety? It’s true. Some animals, especially dogs and cats, are incredibly in tune with human emotions and behaviors. If you’re considering adopting a new pet and are still on the fence, it may help to examine the many ways that pets can help you and benefit you both mentally and physically and then weigh your options.
Some of the Benefits of Owning Pets
#1. Stress Relief: Spending time with a pet can help bring down stress levels. This can, in turn, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
#2. Physical Exercise: Because pets, especially dogs, require physical exercise, they can help get their owners moving as well. Owning a pet can be a great motivator to get outside and take regular walks. Increasing your physical exercise can not only help you lose weight and become more fit, but it can also benefit your mental health.
#3. Companionship: Pets are a great source of companionship. Not only are they loyal and loving, but they won’t ever judge or ridicule you. This kind of unfailing love can be great for your mental health and can combat feelings of loneliness, especially for those who live alone.
#4. A sense of purpose: Caring for a pet provides the owner with a sense of purpose. A pet relies on you for their survival and overall well-being. While your pet may only be one part of your world, for them, you are their entire world. This sense of purpose associated with being a pet owner can reduce anxiety and depression. This can be especially helpful for parents whose children have recently left home or an elderly individual who lives alone.
#5. Routine: Pets can help cultivate a better sense of structure and routine in your day-to-day life. Having a solid daily routine can not only help you to be more focused and productive, but it can help you feel a greater sense of achievement when you go to bed each night. Even when your mental health isn’t the best and you’re struggling to get out of bed, your pet can encourage you to move and take the necessary steps to care for it.
#6. Social Connections: Anyone who’s ever owned a dog knows that it is very common during walks or trips to the dog park to come across fellow animal lovers who want to stop for a quick chat. This can help connect you with people with similar interests as you and can even lead to friendships. But it’s not only dog owners that can enjoy this perk. There are many social groups devoted to specific animals, whether they be horses, llamas, cats, birds, and much more.
Determining if Owning a Pet Is the Right Decision for You
While there is a multitude of benefits of owning a pet, it is still important to acknowledge that adopting an animal is a big responsibility and should not be done on a whim. You need to make sure that you are capable of taking care of the animal and have access to the supplies that they will need. Here are some important questions to ask yourself before getting a pet:
- Do you have the financial resources to pay for what the pet may need? (food, veterinary services, toys, ext.)
- Do you have the room that the animal will need? (Keep in mind that larger animals will require more space)
- Do you have the time necessary to devote to the animal?
- Are you active enough to be able to provide the animal with the exercise it needs?
- Does anyone in your home have allergies to pets?
What to Do if You Can’t Own a Pet
Even if you’re not currently at a place in life where you can own a pet, you can still enjoy the mental benefits that animals can bring. You may consider volunteering at your local humane society. These facilities are typically always looking for people to help out with feeding, cleaning cages, and walking the animals. This is a great way to provide attention to dogs and cats that desperately need it while enjoying the companionship and stress relief they can bring. Another option is to look online for people who need care for their pets while on vacation. This is an easy way to enjoy being around animals while making a little extra cash as a bonus.
There are so many benefits to owning pets, but they are especially beneficial to one’s mental health. They can help lower stress levels and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Pets offer constant love and companionship without judgment. They also provide a sense of purpose and can help you maintain a more structured daily routine. Pets can even help your physical health by ensuring you are walking more and staying active. Having a pet is also a great way to combat feelings of loneliness. Before getting a pet, it is important to ensure that you are capable and well prepared to meet its needs. Even if you can’t own your pet, you can still consider volunteering at a local animal hospital. If you’re struggling with your mental health, our team at Achieve Concierge can help. Call (858) 221-0344 today to learn more.