If you don’t know by now, there are actually more ways to heal yourself apart from medication. A healthy diet, physical exercise, and a means of stress-relief are only some of the ways you can keep yourself free from disease and illness. However, you should not only be mindful of your physical state—your emotional health is just as important too.
Emotions are sometimes harder to handle than your physical well-being. If you’re both physically and emotionally fit, then you’d know you’re truly healthy overall. Having pets is actually one way to help you achieve a healthy body and mind. Even if you’re a dog person, a cat person, or maybe a hamster person, social activity with pets can help you in more ways than you might think. Here are six reasons why pets are good for you.
1. Pets can boost your mood.
Cuddling your cat, petting your dog, or even just watching your fish swim back and forth can induce less anxiety and less stress. Your cortisol levels, or the hormone associated with stress, decreases and your serotonin levels, or the hormone associated with well-being, increases when you interact with pets.
2. Walking your pet demands physical activity.
Dogs, like humans, need to be physically active. Thus, any good dog owner would include it in his or her daily chores to walk their dog. Your dog would not be the only one getting an exercise by going out for a walk, you would too. This simple form of physical activity which is dog walking can have tremendous benefits to your health. For one, the low-intensity exercise is enough to prevent heart disease if you walk your dog a minimum of 150 minutes a week. It will also help you slim down and soak up some vitamin D.
3. Pets can help manage your blood pressure.
Having pets can actually help keep your blood pressure in check. Studies show that in a group of 240 married couples, those with pets have lower blood pressure and lower heart rate at rest than those without. The results held true even as they were undergoing stress tests. Of course, a healthy diet and exercise still plays a major role in managing your blood pressure.
4. Growing up with pets can reduce allergies.
Contrary to popular belief, medical evidence suggests that being around pets more can actually prevent children from developing incurring allergies and asthma as well as from contracting eczema. This is mostly because exposure to pets can help young people boost their immune systems as pets can generally be quite dirty. Without the exposure, children will grow up without the necessary protection from different causes of allergies and asthma.
5. Taking care of pets teaches responsibility.
For children and adults alike, responsibility needs to be learned and there’s no better way than to do so than by having a pet. Just like humans, pets need to be taken care of. They need food, bathing, shelter, and social interaction. Learning to keep your pet healthy and happy can also help teach you how to be responsible, not just in taking care of others, but in completing the tasks you need to do. It is also a good way to develop empathy towards others.
6. Pets can help with depression.
If you have depression, had depression, or don’t want to have depression, pets can greatly help. One of the main factors of depression is the feeling of a lack in social support. Pets can give you unconditional love and listen to you for as long as you want to talk. Petting animals also have a therapeutic effect that can help keep you calm. Pets can also prevent the feeling of hopelessness and fear of having to go through another day. In fact, pets give owners something to look forward to. Scientifically, pets can raise your pleasure and calming neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, thereby helping fight depression.