How lovin’ up on a furry friend could help your mental wellness
Everyone loves a 15/10 good doggo (yep, pups are having such a *moment* they have their own rating system)—they are cute, they are fun, and they pile on that unconditional love. Dogs have long been known as human’s best friend. And, there are good reasons why: studies show pets could be beneficial for your mental wellness, decreasing stress and mitigating symptoms of anxiety.
Spending time with your furry friends could physically change the chemistry of your body and of your brain. According to the Scientific American, spending time with your pup can increase levels of all of those feel good hormones like serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin. And, it goes both ways. The same study shows giving love to your pup spikes the same hormone reaction in them. So, the feeling is most definitely mutual.
Are you lucky to have a furry pal in your life? Here are a few ways you can make the most of your time with them.
Let them keep you accountable to a routine. Whether you need to take your pooch for a walk, toss some fish food into the tank, or clean polly’s cage, having an animal in your life that relies on you in some of the most basic ways can help you create a routine in your own life.
Rendez-vous with other dog owners. Turn solo dog walking time into WeTime and scope out a new dog park. Hitting up the local dog park with your furry friend can be a great way to get involved in your community. Plus, they make the perfect conversation starter to get out there and make more dog parent friends.
Cat nap. Literally. Studies show that napping can improve your mood and memory. So, take a queue from your purring pal and take advantage of that mid-afternoon snooze.
Looking to incorporate more good doggos into your life? Here are some ways to get more face time with furry pals.
Lend a helping hand. No fear if you cannot have your own pet in your life at the moment. Sign up to volunteer at a local shelter. According to Harvard Health, volunteering can help people feel more connected to their community, combating loneliness and depression. A win-win, volunteering at a shelter can help you give back and get some face time with a new furry friend. And, if dogs are not your thing, find another animal to help that gives you all the feels.
Go to therapy—with an animal. Studies show that even a few minutes with a calm, trained therapy dog could reduce stress and ease anxiety. Do not leave all the love for the puppers! Cats are beginning to make the cut on the roster at places that provide animal therapy for schools and offices. Don’t have access to a cat? This two and a half hour video of a cat purring just might do the trick.
Put the lovable eyes in your feed. Studies show that actually gazing into your pet’s eyes mimic triggers similar chemical reactions as when parents gaze into their children’s eyes. And, while it’s not possible for everyone to have the loving gaze of a pupper actively in their lives, you can bring them into your digital life by following accounts like The Dogist, We Rate Dogs, and The Golden Ratio.