The Mental Health Benefits of Having a Pet

Pets seem to have the ability to calm us, center us, and just make us feel all around better about being on the planet.  Recently, many mental health benefits of having a pet have been discovered. Here are some reasons to dote on your furry friend:

Petting Reduces Stress

Your pet may love when you pet them, but it turns out it’s equally beneficial to you as well! Rhythmic petting has been shown to release Oxycontin, the hormone related to stress and anxiety relief. Once this is released your blood pressure and cortisol levels will decrease and you’ll a sense of calm.

You Don’t Feel Alone

The only thing worse than actually being alone, is feeling alone when we’re around other people. So often we can be with friends and loved ones, yet feel totally disconnected.

But when we spend time with our pets, we feel like we’re with true companions. They make us feel happy, safe and secure. Perhaps it’s because they don’t judge us and love us unconditionally that allows us to connect in a way that is often not possible with other human beings.

Pets Help Us Be More at Peace

It’s hard for most people to be completely in the moment. We’re either regretting the past or worrying about the future. However, when we engage with our pets, it helps us take our minds off of any negative stressors and focus the now.

They Help Your Body Release Feel Good Chemicals

When your dog rolls around on his back or your cat rubs her head under your chin, you can’t help but smile. And when you smile, your body releases serotonin and dopamine, which are nerve transmitters associated with calmness and happiness.

Don’t have a pet of your own at home? You can still gain these benefits by volunteering at a shelter. There are many animals out there alone who would love your companionship, and you’ll feel great in the process.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring mental health treatment, please contact us today. Our therapists would be happy to discuss your concerns and determine if an emotional support animal is right for you!

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