Unconditional Love – how dogs can help you harness your mental health - Mental Health & Wellbeing Show

Unconditional Love – how dogs can help you harness your mental health

Dogs, among other pets, have therapeutic effects on our life. They fulfil the basic human need for touch and can rapidly calm and
soothe us when stressed or anxious. Their presence eases loneliness and, what is essential – they are an excellent stimulus for a healthy lifestyle by making us exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the house. This can significantly boost our mood and ease depression.

Let’s dive into scientific research for a second.

According to scientific research, interacting with dogs lowers blood pressure, slows the heart rate and positively impacts the body’s levels of stress-modulating hormones – dopamine and cortisol. The first hormone is responsible for pleasure and motivation, whereas cortisol is crucial to regulating blood sugar, controlling metabolism, and reducing inflammation.

The most important benefits of spending time with your dog:

  1. Reduced possibility to suffer from depression.
  2. Lower blood pressure in stressful situations.
  3. Elevated levels of serotonin and dopamine calm
    and relax.
  4. Heart attack patients with pets survive longer
    than those without.
  5. Lower levels of indicators of heart disease
    (triglyceride and cholesterol).

Taking care of another living makes it easier to take care of yourself.

For those who struggle with depression, having a dog can be a complete life-changer. Anxiety and depression make it hard for people to motivate themselves to go out. Having a dog adds this activity to our lives and marks it as a ‘responsibility’. Experiencing physical fatigue is a common symptom for people struggling with those mental issues. For them, it is even
more important to exercise, as physical activity releases endorphins in the brain that energize, reduce stress, boost mood and increase mental energy by creating positive feelings. Therefore, walking the dog as a part of our daily routine becomes a healthy distraction from worries and negative thoughts.

What if you don’t or can’t have a dog?

You shouldn’t be worried about that! If you are not an owner yourself, there are plenty of ways o spend some time with a furry friend. What can you do then?

  • Ask a friend or a family member if you can take their pupil for a walk – oftentimes, such an offer will be a blessing for them!
  • Search for animal shelters in your neighbourhood – they rely on volunteers to walk the dogs in their kennels.
  • Look up the online websites on which people from your neighbourhood advertise the possibility of walking their dogs when they
    can’t do it themselves. It’s a fantastic opportunity to not only take care of a pet and yourself but also to help out someone in need and help you stay socially connected to others!

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than it loves itself. Just think about it.

When was the last time someone was so overjoyed to see you, so brimming with love that they LITERALLY ran to greet you?

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