How animals help individuals with Anxiety, Depression and Stress by Meher Singh

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Pets are part of our everyday lives and our families. They not only provide us with companionship but also emotional support. We all know that animals bring a lot of joy into our lives, but what a lot of us don’t know is the effect animals may have on people suffering from stress, anxiety and depression. Animals help reduce stress levels and sense of loneliness. Animals are constant companions and friends to a lot of individuals dealing with anxiety and depression. They help to regulate heart rate and stabilize blood pressure and the autonomic stress in women. Playing, communicating or even just petting animals can cause your brain to release chemicals called endorphins, which help improve your mood. Caring for a dog can help children grow up more secure and active and also may provide valuable companionship for older adults. Just knowing that an animal is relying on you for food and affection, can make you feel a sense of purpose and responsibility in life.

Pets offer unconditional love and acceptance.

They help you alter behaviour and are great distractors from anything that may be causing you uneasiness.

Every now and then people have their ups and downs in life. Some may relate such feeling to anxiety. Being anxious is a very normal emotion. It’s like the feeling you may have before going in for a big job interview or the feeling you get before an exam. These may also be feelings of nervousness like when you have some trouble at work or some kind of a disagreement with your boss or co-workers. These feelings are all normal, but having feelings of anxiety is different. Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, concern, fear and apprehension. Anxiety, if not treated, may even lead to having a panic attack, which may be a lot worse. There is a broad variety of anxiety, some of which are: social anxiety, separation anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder and so on.

Depression, on the other hand, is very different from anxiety. According to DSMV, a depressed individual encounters a feeling of constant sadness, negativity, helplessness and loss of interest in life. Some depressed individuals may also exhibit physical symptoms like pain in some part of their body. Depression may also be linked to substance abuse or prolonged use of any medication. Promises Treatment Centers which specializes in addiction, not only recommends its patients to consider getting a pet but even allows pets in its rehabilitation facilities.

Animals in some countries are considered to be emotional supporters. Just the presence of an animal can uplift you mood.

An emotional support animal is one whose companionship does wonders to an ailing person. Such animals reduce the emotional or psychological signs that are related to the owner’s disorder. These animals sense the discomfort of their owner and try to smooth out their thought process without any special training.

According to DSMV, Stress is a body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When an individual is stressed, the body automatically kicks into a “flight-or-fight” reaction. This is the way the body protects you from any major kind of harm. Having a pet has the potential to lower blood pressure, especially in hypertensive or high-risk patients. Therefore feeling anxious, depressed or stressed can often be cured by just adopting or having an animal around you. Cat owners also have health gains and benefits. Felines are just as beneficial to your health as dogs. It is well said “If you have a cat, you’re 30 per cent less likely to have a heart attack, and you’re 40 per cent less likely to have a cardiovascular incident like a stroke”

While it may seem a bit counterintuitive, owning a dog actually increases a person’s opportunities to socialize. Dogs are naturally social beings that can ease loneliness and a feeling of isolation. They also encourage exercise and playfulness that improves one’s cardiovascular health. They often draw people into a conversation. Simply having a dog sit on your lap or lean against you can significantly reduce the symptoms of a panic attack and help to calm you down

Pets are instrumental in increasing our social activity and evidently add to a child’s self-esteem and positive emotional development.

Believe it or not, pets can be the best medicine, especially when a person is dealing with chronic pain such as migraines or arthritis.

It is also believed that pets can dramatically improve immunity and prevent allergies. The more pets you have earlier in life, the fewer allergies you will develop. “Kids who grow up on farms and around animals don’t have allergies.”

Pets are also hugely beneficial to children suffering from autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Taking care of a pet can encourage them to focus on responsibilities through an expected routine. While the sensory experience of holding and petting an animal can be soothing for children with autism.

Children who grow up in a household with pets benefit in myriad ways, especially in their emotional development. When a child is attached to a dog or cat, they learn to express themselves in more ways and they learn to relate better.

A lot of the health benefits of owning a pet may stem from the mental and emotional benefits. “People who have pets are less harried; there’s more laughter in their lives. Pet owners know how much their furry friends improve their quality of life with their unconditional love.

In summary, animals help with:

  • Decreases Stress
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Eases Pain
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Improves Mood
  • Helps People Socialize
  • Prevents Strokes
  • Monitors Blood Sugar Levels for Diabetics
  • Prevents Allergies and Improves Immunity
  • Helps Children Develop

Meher Singh.jpg