After what can only be described as a tough couple of years due to the pandemic and other devastating world issues, we have all been looking for ways to improve our mental health and reduce stress. Enjoying long walks in nature and connecting with friends and family are some of the ways we have tried to improve our mental health. Pet companionship has been at the forefront of these times. Having a pet gives us a sense of responsibility and allows us to see our lives from a different angle, giving us a purpose when we may feel otherwise. The love that animals give to us is incomparable.
Pet companionship can improve both your mental and physical health, encouraging more physical activity which releases endorphins, chemicals produced by the body to help ease stress and pain. Playing with a dog or other pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine as well, which are chemicals that create calm and relaxation. Those who spend time with pets are also less likely to suffer from depression than those who don’t. Some studies show pet owners aged 65 or over make 30% fewer visits to the doctor than those without pets. Those with pets typically have lower blood pressure in stressful situations, than those with no pets at all.
Making small healthy lifestyle changes can play a huge role in reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety. From increased exercise on walks to companionship and meeting new people, caring for a pet, offers a lifeline to those looking to combat loneliness and improve physical health.