Three Ways Pets Lessen Depression

As all of us pet lovers know, pets can reduce stress from our day to day routines and keep us active. Walking a dog everyday, playing with a cat, and having fish can all improve our health. But what about when it comes to mood? We can all remember moments when we were upset or angry and our pets may have offered some comfort from the immediate emotions we’re feeling.

On days when traffic is horrible, the boss was moody, and life is just being unfair, a wagging tail or purring head butt can give us a smile. While a pet can’t cure depression, they can help improve our moods and distract us from listening to our “inner gremlin.” Pets offer psychological comfort.

Three Ways Pets Lessen Depression

  • Keep us from becoming socially withdrawn – Pets also can relieve some feelings of loneliness. Depression and loneliness can go hand in hand. Having a dog that needs to be walked and needs to go outside can keep you on a steady routine of getting out as well. Focusing on taking care of a pet can lower blood pressure which may also reduce the chances of a heart attack. This is due to redirecting the passive stress from external things like work or loss of a relationship to the present moment of a pet’s needs.
  • Force us to remain active – Also, by walking a dog or throwing a ball, exercise can raise a mood and help release anxiety. A good jog with a pet or long walk not only tires your body but also tires the mind.
  • Provide constant companionship – Taking care of a pet can take you out of your head for a few minutes each day and force you to be mindful of their needs. The focusing on someone else can help you not dwell on your mood. Parrots have been known to be good companions for people who may have bouts of depression because of their level of interaction, the call and response they do, and they are very loyal, loving, and fun.

While a pet is wonderful and helps with moods, taking care of yourself and talking to your doctor are also necessary. Pets are a great addition to your house and give a lot of love but they cannot cure mood disorders. So when you get home from work today, hug your pet, thank her/him for their companionship, and spend some quality time playing together.

photo by ginnerobot

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