Did you know that owning a dog has been proven to reduce depressive symptoms, even in cases of treatment-resistant major depressive disorder? Adopting a pet has many mood-boosting benefits beyond depression relief.
Pet adoption statistics have skyrocketed during the COVID pandemic for exactly this reason. Welcoming a new four-footed furry family member can help reduce anxiety and stress during difficult periods. If you want to learn more about the mental health benefits of owning a pet, read on.
1. Build Routine
Having a pet is not like having a piece of furniture. You have to take care of them, feed them, and walk them on a schedule. This schedule of care creates a structure for your day.
People who have pets are found to be better able to manage daily tasks, build routines, and are more motivated to get up in the morning. The act of getting out of bed to feed your pet already sets you on a path for success for your day. A more productive day will have you feeling more fulfilled and motivated.
2. Better Social Competence
If you suffer from social anxiety or want to increase your friendship circle, owning a pet can help. Although your pet can’t hold a conversation with you, pets have been shown to increase social competence and social interactions. For children, having a pet can also help them learn how to develop healthy play behavior.
It’s theorized that the social benefits of having a pet are due to re-learning healthy attachment techniques. In other words, you re-learn how to care for your pet and how to turn to your pet for emotional support. These skills transfer into your social relationships with people.
3. Calm Your Anxiety
It’s difficult to feel anxious when you have an adorable, furry friend trying to cheer you up. This is one of the main reasons that being a pet owner can boost your mental health. Whether you suffer from plane anxiety, social anxiety, or generalized anxiety, having a pet around you can help calm you down.
If you need to keep your pet around you when you go out, it’s worth getting an ESA certification from ASP. A certified emotional support animal can come with you to more places and will have a higher level of support training to meet your needs.
4. Reduce Loneliness
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of having a pet is reduced loneliness. If you’re a pet owner, you’re never alone. Some people even report being more attached to their pets than their human family members!
Over time, your pet companionship can encourage a positive outlook by reducing feelings of futility and loneliness.
5. Healing Touch
Humans have a need for physical contact that unfortunately is often unmet. However, with a pet, you can have healthy, physical contact that meets your need for affection.
Physical contact with a pet can reduce blood pressure and can cause up to a 300% increase in oxytocin! Petting your dog or cat can have you experience better health, both physically and mentally.
Experience the Mood-Boosting Benefits of a Pet Today
In today’s busy and stressful world, we could all benefit from some mood-boosting. If you could benefit from stress relief, more structure, and less anxiety or depression, consider adopting a pet. Pets are not only cute, but they can provide all these benefits and more. We recommend adopting a shelter pet from one of our charity partners, or you can research local animal rescue groups online that fit your needs for a new furry friend.