6 Ways Pets Help with Anxiety and Depression

Whenever you hug your doggy or pet your kitty, you’re supporting your mental health. The presence of a furry friend adds so many positive things to your life but it may also help manage depression and anxiety. Here are some other ways our critters help our state of mind.

Improves your psychological health

Feeling good about yourself is part of a healthy psychological state. After a bad day at work, having a pet to come home to maximizes that feeling. Having a pet greatly improves your ability to love, and minimizes feelings of loneliness and worry.

Healthline states that “Cat owners do have better psychological health than people without pets. On questionnaires, they claim to feel happier, more confident, and less nervous, and to sleep, focus, and face problems in their lives better.”

Introduce pets to your kids also so that they can get a chance to feel that love and acceptance through a furry friend as well.

Increases your confidence

Owning a pet gives you a self-esteem boost as well as an emotional bond that helps beat loneliness on a daily basis. Consistent emotional support is also known to build up shy kids’ and shy adults’ confidence levels.

Builds social skills

Many of us get nervous when trying to be social. However, with a pet by your side, it’s a little easier to be extroverted. Taking your little doggy on a walk can help you meet people and release you from some of the fears around social anxiety.

Autism Parenting Magazine suggests that “A pet could also help with sensory tactile issues.  Some children on the spectrum experience calming benefits from petting something soft.  Combining the feel with something they can interact with has amazing potential to help them develop positive social skills. I would suggest exposing your child to different types of animals to see what your child relates to before introducing the pet.  Maybe take a trip to the local rescue shelter or pet store and see how your child reacts to various animals.”

Make Friends

Having a pet is like a built-in hack for attracting fellow animal lovers, and minimizes feelings of isolation. mentions, “In addition to interacting with your neighbors, you’ll meet all kinds of people with your dog, whether you’re at the park or hiking. Pets have the social lubricant effect where they practically guarantee that you’re going to engage with others. You’re much more likely to strike up a conversation if you’re walking with your pet than if you go walking by yourself.”

Creating a healthy routine

When you feed your cat or walk your dog on a daily basis, you’re creating a dependable structure and routine in your life. That sense of responsibility places you in a leading role in your life, which can decrease depression as you feel like you have a purpose.

Minimize post-traumatic symptoms

After an extreme change in life direction, we can go through periods of intense stress and anxiety. Consider getting a pet to soothe those deeply emotional wounds. Your inner child will thank you.

CNET states that “Reducing symptoms of PTSD (unwanted flashbacks to anxiety and depression symptoms) after the traumatic event, getting back to ‘normal’ can feel almost impossible. Pets can make a big difference. Bonding with an animal can help to ease your symptoms, so much so that the US Department of Veteran Affairs specifically suggests dog ownership as a way to see emotional benefits for people with PTSD.”

Whether you want to create more structure in your life, make a friend, or heal a deep-rooted emotional trauma, a friendly pet might be the answer to helping solve some of these mental health issues.

-Blue Bliss

Photo: Unsplash

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