Why Having a Pet Helps Ease Anxiety
If you struggle with high levels of stress and anxiety, then adding a furry friend to your family may be a great idea. In a survey of pet owners, 74% of pet owners reported mental health improvements from pet ownership. Here is exactly why pets help ease anxiety in our lives.
Pets provide comforting physical touch
Even though it may be the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling stressed out, contact with another person can help ease your anxiety significantly. This is because much of our anxiety can stem from feelings of loneliness or isolation, so even being around other people can help lessen these feelings.
However, when you’re feeling very stressed or anxious, it may seem next to impossible to go chat up a friend or stranger. This is where pets come in handy. Being with a pet can help provide these same feelings of comfort that protect against loneliness and anxiety. This is why holding or stroking a pet can be so calming in stressful, or sad situations.
Pets help with fear of being alone
Another reason pets are great is that they provide companionship. If you suffer from anxiety for being home alone, then having a pet in the house will help you feel less vulnerable. Many dogs are specifically bred and trained to assist with physical protection, so if that is a quality that is desirable to you, you can choose a breed that’s a natural protector, and feel even more safe and secure.
Pets help with managing long-term mental health issues
Many studies have shown that pets help those who suffer with long-term health issues. Specifically, pets and therapy animals can help alleviate stress, anxiety, depression, and feelings of loneliness and social isolation. So pets are a great family addition for those who have long-term mental health conditions. In addition, there are many training programs specifically for training dogs and other therapy animals to assist with specific mental and physical health ailments.
Pets help with meeting new people
If your anxiety is mostly social in nature, then a pet may help you in those stressful situations where you meet and talk with new people. A 2016 study found that pets provide a sense of security and routine that provided emotional and social support. Furthermore, pets help facilitate social interactions – they help take the attention off their owner, assist with friendship formation, and more. Having a pet will help give you the motivation to conquer social challenges and step outside your comfort zone.
Pets are willing listeners
When something is stressing you out or causing you anxiety, the feeling only worsens when you feel like you have to keep it inside and suppress your worries. In most cases, getting your feelings off your chest, and actually speaking your worries and anxieties out loud will help you feel better. Naming the things that are bothering you takes away their power – even if you’re not saying them to anyone in particular.
Of course, family, friends, and even therapists are helpful for this, but voicing your worries to another human can be hard. So, try talking with your pet. Of course they won’t talk back – but that’s part of the appeal. Pets are willing and supportive listeners, and they’ll even give you some cuddles while you talk – you can’t beat that for helping ease anxiety.
Not only are pets great companions, but they also have proven benefits for both those with health issues, as well as those who are just looking to add furry family member to their lives. One thing is certain: adding a pet to your family offers a number of positive benefits, and very few drawbacks (as long as you are prepared to care for a pet, and are okay with the occasional mess). If you want to enrich your overall quality of life, improve your health and be happier, then consider getting a pet.
This topic was modified 9 months ago by abby12