I have a strong bond with animals, and it was very hard for me to leave my dogs when I moved to Florida for school. At least once a day I think of my dogs.Before finals week my freshman year, I was so stressed out I bought a pet lizard, and I often sit with the ducks and squirrels on campus because being around animals is very comforting.
Animals have a deep, profound effect on human stress. Spending time with animals has been proven to benefit the mind as well as the physical body (not to mention they are great company). In fact, many hospitals, nursing homes, and schools often schedule “therapy visits” with animals to aid their patients or students. If you don’t share a bond with animals like I do, you might want to start. Here are some of the greatest advantages to owning or spending time with animals:
- They help decrease blood pressure and heart rates. Petting an animal often creates a positive atmosphere, which decreases feelings of anxiety, calming the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
- They promote happiness and help us recover faster from stress. Besides creating feelings of companionship and love, animals also increase levels of endorphins in the body. Endorphins are feel-good chemicals that manipulate feelings of pain and stress and result in feelings of euphoria and happiness.
- They are an important source of comfort and responsibility. Owning a pet is a lot of responsibility, but it is good responsibility. Taking care of and loving a pet can increase feelings of importance and self-worth.
- They increase opportunities of exercise and socialization. Pet walkers tend to be more active outside of walking their pets, both inside and out of the house. Compared to walking or running alone, exercising with your pet helps you engage in more conversations along the way.
- Overall, animals promote a healthier, happier, and stress-free lifestyle!
Contributed by Shannon Gordon