If there is one thing this pandemic has made us painfully aware of it is that things do get awfully lonely. Even if you are surrounded by family members every day, things can feel just as equally lonely. This is because as humans we experience thousands of emotions and sometimes friends or family members who are going through their own set of moods and problems may need their own space to deal with everything. Although it isn’t necessarily done out of spite, these scenarios can leave us feeling a bit misunderstood and left out. Pets on the other hand have an extraordinary ability to make us feel included, cherished, loved, and calm. Perhaps it’s those wet little noses or those eyes that make you feel like the only important thing on the planet. Whatever it is, one thing is for sure, adopting a pet is a rewarding experience that not only teaches valuable lessons but also benefits your health, and here’s why:
Adopting A Pet Boosts Your Mood
There are many benefits to owning a pet but one of the main ways we as humans gain from them is that pets help to reduce depression and boost the overall mood. Various studies have shown that owning a pet can have significant effects on psychological responses to stress and lowering high blood pressure levels. Individuals who are socially withdrawn or who do not have a strong support system may benefit the most from adopting a pet. In most situations recovering addicts or individuals who have experienced traumatic loss will also find solace in having a furry or scaly friend around.
Scientists believe that pets stimulate positive feelings within us and help us deal with stressful situations in a calmer more logical state of mind. When you put aside the small things and take a closer look at the important stuff – like a pet, things don’t seem to be so overwhelming. And who can resist waking up to a cute face every day? It’s bound to put a smile on your face even on dark days.
Adopting A Pet Reduces Pain
Living with chronic pain is debilitating and can severely affect your quality of life. While pain medication can help to ease some of the pain, having pets around the house can also help take your mind off of the nagging aches. Stroking or petting a little critter helps to release endorphins, the feel-good hormone that is potent enough to put you on a ‘high’ and may even be more effective than other pain remedies.
According to a study, patients who were hospitalized with heart failure experienced improved cardiac function and decreased levels of epinephrine and anxiety with a therapy dog compared to those who didn’t. Another study pointed out that patients recovering from joint replacement therapy took fewer pain pills when receiving animal-assisted therapy.
Adopting A Pet Can Help Monitor Changes In Your Health
We have all heard about guide or service dogs, but did you know that a dog can actually help detect health problems you didn’t even know you had? Animals are extremely sensitive to our behaviors, and when something changes, they pick up on it straight away.
Some dogs are even able to pick up on blood sugar levels, which is very beneficial for those who suffer from diabetes. When blood sugar levels start to drop it could cause diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a very serious condition, however, a dog can pick up on the signs by the changes in your breath and alert you of the problem.
Adopting A Pet Can Help Build Relationships
Sitting on the couch pondering about the negative things in life just isn’t an option when you have a four legend friend around. Dogs need stimulation and you can bet on your dog wanting to run its heart out at the park. They force us out of our comfort zones even if you want to retreat back to the comfort of your home. But it’s not just your dog who benefits from this.
Socializing your dog at the park opens the door for more opportunities to meet other dog lovers, which could turn into a budding new friendship or romance. You will already have one thing in common so it is pretty much smooth sailing from there.
Adopting A Pet Improves Your Overall Health
Dogs and other pets alike require a lot of stimulation and activity, which means you have to get more active. Dogs need a lot of exercise to keep them healthy and to keep any behavioral issues at bay. When your dog runs, so do you! Regular exercise is one of the best ways to improve overall health and fight heart disease by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels and keeping your weight in check. In addition to that, exercise is also great for improving concentration and fighting off symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Adopting A Pet Can Help Boost Self Esteem
With the increasing pressure from social media and our peers, it’s easy to feel rejected or simply not good enough. We all want to fit in, it’s encoded in our DNA, but some humans can be harsh. We are often put into boxes based on what we look like, own, or do and if you don’t fit the mold, it can cause our self-esteem to plummet into a pool of tears on the floor. Unfortunately, this is a reality most of us face, however, having a cute little critter around can help give us the boost or pat on the back we needed.
Pets don’t judge, they simply want to be loved, fed, and nurtured. Your pet will love you just as much as you love them and don’t require a social status or seven-figure bank account to get their approval. It’s a relationship built solely on trust and once you have it, there is nothing that can break it.
Adopting A Pet Gives You Purpose
Whether it is a goldfish, lizard, snake, rabbit, or pig, pets of any kind are the secret to a life well spent. They give us purpose in our lives and teach us how to be responsible. Their existence relies on us and our schedules. They rely on us for food, love, shelter, and medical attention. A pet helps to give our lives structure and balance, which not only keeps them happy and fed but also helps us to get up in the morning because there is another being who needs to be taken into consideration. There is no time for hiding under the covers because of lingering depression or anxiety – Gizmo needs his breakfast!
Putting your energy into taking care of a little cat or dog that needs you is a rewarding experience that brings endless amounts of joy. And in these uncertain times, we could all do with a companion that is always happy to see us and doesn’t mind lending an ear to hear about the troubles of the day.
By adopting an animal from a shelter, you are giving them a second chance at a better life and you get to reap the rewards by having a friend for life.