How Getting a Pet Can Help Your Mental Health
The coronavirus isn’t the only pandemic this world faces. We also have an ongoing mental health crisis. Internationally, it’s estimated that close to one billion people have some form of this disorder.
There are ways to minimize the effects of conditions like bipolar disorder and depression. Medication and therapy are certainly a possibilities. Yet, what has recently been shown to be the most helpful in getting a pet. Here are a few reasons why doing this helps your mental health.
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They Divert Attention Away From Your Worries
A condition related to mental illness can be internal isolation. You’re in a continual spiral of shame, anxiety, or panic that takes up a good part of your thought processes. In other words, you spend more time in your head than in the physical plane.
This can’t happen when you have a pet. From the moment you get one, your attention is on their needs. You are on the lookout for the right bed or types of litter boxes that companies like Modkat sell. Thus, you pull away from constantly moving thoughts and start focusing on what goes on around you.
A Pet Fulfills A Need For Touch
Regardless of how we were raised, humans are compassionate creatures. We crave some form of touch, be it from a partner or caregiver. When this isn’t received, those with mental disorders feel alone.
Pets fulfill the need for touch. This isn’t a one-way relationship because animals like dogs and cats are extremely empathic. They know when you need them to brush up against you or cuddle nearby in your bed. This provides you with large doses of comfort.
They Help Release The Right Brain Chemicals
Research has revealed a cause of mental health issues goes beyond the daily happenings in your life. It’s also due to the lack of certain chemicals released into your brain. These naturally synthesized products are what keeps you calm and relax. Depression and anxiety occur when the flow is reduced.
However, there’s a better potential for items like seratonin and dopamine to be released normally when you have a pet. The reason is you become more active by walking or playing with them. This enjoyment releases the necessary chemicals to lift you up.
Plus, the effects are cyclical. The more enjoyment you have the steadier the release of dopamine and seretonin. In turn, you encounter fewer dark thoughts and rampant panic.
They Help You Meet New People
The inability to interact with others, even close friends and family members, is one condition of irregular mental health. You either feel you don’t belong or are so down that you have difficulty participating. Pet ownership shifts this dynamic.
It’s particularly true with dogs. You take them for walks around the neighborhood or to the park to play. In the process, you meet other pet owners and start friendships. While you initially speak with them only to let your respective dogs hang out, you soon realize you enjoy their company.
They Add Structure To Your Day
Those faced with depression, anxiety, or panic attacks have their days constantly interrupted. It’s caused by a simple thought, action, or conversation. Practically anything triggers a trip down the figurative rabbit hole. As a result, you end up inactive for the remainder of the day.
It’s harder to venture down this dark chasam when you have a pet. You have to get up at a certain time to walk and feed them. They need to go to the vet. You take them out to play. Then there’s another meal and a final walk.
Simply put, pets add structure to your day. It breaks it up into moments you look forward to. So, you work hard to avoid triggers to reach those times.
In the end, medicine and therapy help set a foundation for recovery from a mental health issue. The shift away from bad habits is the main way to battle these disorders. It’s much easier to do this with a pet.
Needless to say, don’t adopt one that’s too much to handle. Do your research to find the animals and breeds that maximize your enjoyment. Before you know it, you thoughts of despair will transform into ones of love for your pet.