We all love and want a pet. For some, it can be a spider or a dog and cat. Pets are great to have around; they are another person to talk to and cheer up and look after. There are many more benefits to having a pet, including improving your mental health.
Don’t believe me? Then read on as I explain the ways a pet improves mental health.
If you live by yourself, then you typically don’t have anyone to talk to on-demand. On top of that, thanks to social media and the various apps on our devices like Whatsapp and Facebook. It can be challenging to make meaningful human connections and friendships, making a person feel isolated. This feeling grows the longer you remain isolated if you don’t get on with your family. This makes that void larger.
Whether it’s a Tarantula named Dave or a Jack Russell called Pocket, having a pet around gives you something to talk to and love. It helps lower how isolated you feel and can help you still feel a part of society. Having pets can lower the possibility of you getting depression or suffering from loneliness which isolation is known to cause.
Gets you out
Now, if anyone reading this has suffered from any bad mental health. For example, depression, anxiety or BPD. You know that it can make you feel drained and not want to get out of bed, let alone the house! Even if it’s to go across the road and get some milk. Having the responsibility of a pet (especially if you live by yourself.) It forces you to get out of bed to feed them and give them water. And if that pet is a dog, then that pushes you outside instead of just in bed. It helps you get into a routine and gives you something to get up and help. Plus, if it gets you outside, it’s a form of exercise and gives you new surroundings, which lowers the trapped feeling of depression and anxiety force on you.
There are many conditions out there, from ADHD to depression. Heck, people with disabilities need assistance dogs, and those with visual impairments need guide dogs. Ultimately, dogs, whether a pet or an approved guide dog. It can help people gain more independence and make them more confident in going out and interacting with others. It can also lower the anxiety felt when going outside. This stops the feeling of othering and separation from society. It can massively improve their mental and physical health because they do not have to worry as much.
However, I am well aware not everyone wants a dog as a pet and want something like a guinea pig. And generally, whilst they can’t offer as much assistance as a guide dog, they can still provide their owner with a feeling of confidence because the owner and pet have a good bond or responsibility.
In the above points, I’ve mentioned responsibility and that you have something to look after and get out of bed to provide food and water. Now its isn’t just the responsibility of the pet that can help with mental health! Having/looking after animals and their various needs provides a structure. Because they will typically like to eat and drink the same things while pets like structure, that structure will typically give the owner routine. This can help you plan your day and make things more straightforward in your head. Which will lower stress and help avoid some problems that occur with mental health.
Pets are known for showing their owner unconditional love. Before the cat hater comes into the comments and says, cats can show some absolute hatred and whack you. And whilst a cat can hit you. (Trust me as a woman with a cat, I KNOW.) but they are also capable of a lot of love. Trust me; my cat sits on my lap when I type up articles! Ultimately pets need us and show us a lot of love. Which can make a person feel wanted, confident and loved.
Positive feelings like those can go a long way! And can improve a persons self-esteem, worth and confidence, and it improves the positive aspects of mental health a lot.
What If You can’t get a pet?
If you can’t get a pet for whatever reason, spend more time with a pet of a family member or friend. Or get something small like a guinea pig or something that won’t disturb the neighbours.
In the end, it is not just dogs that are mans best friends. It’s just animals in general. They provide us with much-needed love, support and structure. That not many things can, especially in this distant digital age of Snapchat. Just remember, only get a pet if you can keep up with the responsibility of owning one.
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