The above couldn’t ring truer. Having a pet and spending time with one is the quickest way to bring you into the present moment, the only moment that ultimately matters. Being in the moment is key to happiness and overcoming stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that people who practice meditation, and activities that bring them into the moment, have lower levels of anxiety and stress. Dogs, cats, rabbits and birds are all to thank for human happiness.
A mood booster with a wagging tail
Stress and anxiety negatively affect cognitive function and when we pet or cuddle a pet the tactile stimulation reduces anxiety. Therapy animals have long been loved and trusted companions of people with disabilities so it’s no wonder animals of all kinds are being acknowledge for their ability to help individuals deal with a range of mental health conditions, from depression and anxiety to dementia.
Petting an animal can decrease the level of the stress hormone cortisol and boost release of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This results in lowered blood pressure and heart rate, and what follows is very possibly an elevated mood.
The ‘Lassie Effect’
The weather isn’t great, and you’ve had a long day, but your loyal doggie is pawing you because it’s time for his walk. What do you? You find the energy to grab his leash and go for a quick walk. That’s what’s known as the ‘Lassie Effect,’ and it describes the positive lifestyle effect having a dog has on a person. The regular exercise is a win-win, it keeps your hound fit and happy, but at the same time it improves your health and wellbeing too. Physical exercise improves brain health and helps manage stress and anxiety. Thank you, Bella, for the walkies.
Su-Lise, Marketing Executive of Bob Martin explains, “Having a pet, especially a dog, increases opportunities to exercise, get outdoors, and to socialise. Even just playing with your pets at home can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. Pets also help manage loneliness and depression by giving us their unconditional love.”
Paws have a place
Whether working from home, or employed full-time in an office, pets can make the work week more bearable, simply by being their cute selves. When hard lockdown hit during the global pandemic there was an increase in the number of animals adopted, as people were confined to being home, and needed companionship. Our pets soon became employee of the month, and the reason we managed to get moving. Adopting a pet not only changes their life for the better, but those of their owners (read dog mom and dads) too.
It’s been said that people who are allowed to bring their pet to work experience lower levels of stress throughout the day. Having a pet around also forces you to take a break (or two) from your desk. If you can’t take your pet to work then at least you know you have the perfect companion at home ready to help you unwind.
A best friend from young to old
Growing up with pets teaches children responsibility, but also compassion and tenderness. They will always have a friend by their side, and one that will get them outdoors and active. Pets can even help with learning, and educators have used dogs as a form of therapy in schools for years. In particular, animals can help children’s reading skills as they’re a non-judgemental and loyal friend to read out loud to.
Both older adults and the elderly can benefit from having a pet as they provide calm and companionship, and often help prevent feelings of loneliness or depression. Pets have also been known to foster human connections for their owners, and even so much as a smile from a passer-by noticing their dog can brighten their day.
Be sure to thank your fluffy companion with their favourite Bob Martin meal. Who know best friends were also best for your metal health?