Anxiety and Depression affect a huge number of UK residents. Recent research suggests that nearly 20% of people 16 and over in this country show symptoms of Anxiety or Depression.
Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and will affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives. There is a close relationship with Anxiety and Depression. It is known that half the people who are diagnosed with Anxiety are also diagnosed with Depression. However, Pets especially cats and dogs can help reduce stress, anxiety, ease loneliness and improve your mental health.
A study carried out by the Cats Protection in 2011, involving over 600 cat and non-cat owners found that 87% of people who owned a cat felt it had a positive impact on their health and wellbeing, whereas 76% said they could cope with everyday life much better with the close company of their fury friends.
Caring for an animal can help children grow up more secure and active. Pets also provide valuable companionship for older adults. Perhaps most importantly, though, a pet can add real joy and unconditional love to your life.
How Pets can help manage Mental Health Problems
Pets are especially great with helping with Depression, as well as having calming effects on their owners. The simplest things such as stroking or sitting next to a pet can help calm their minds. Pets can offer comfort, companionship, and love. Depression and loneliness sometimes come hand in hand, however pets can break this cycle. Caring for a pet can feel rewarding.
Pets help build Healthy Habits
Just like us humans, pets also need daily walking and exercise. Depression and feeling anxious can sometimes reduce your social interaction. However, being accompanied by a pet can help increase your daily activities, by going on more walks, runs, or even sitting in the garden.
Going out on daily dog walks gives you a good reason to talk to new people. Having a companion by your side who is constantly in tune to your needs as well as very energetic. Despite some pets, especially dogs, being a lot to handle they help improve your mental health majorly. By involving your within pet-friendly events, beaches or parks can also help increase your social network, not only with yourself but your pet as well.
Research has been shown that children who build a close relationship with their pets find it easier to build relationships with other people. Dogs especially can develop a really close bond with their owners emotions and moods, as well as increasing children’s emotional development, as dogs respond to human commands.
Animal Assisted Therapy
Scientists have discovered much more about the connection between pets and mental health. As a result, animal-assisted therapy programs have become an important part of mental health treatment. Moreover, individuals benefit from owning mental health animals, such as an emotional support dog. Interacting with a friendly dog reduces levels of Cortisol (the stress hormone), as well as increasing the release of oxytocin (another chemical in the body that reduces stress naturally), that’s why animal-assisted therapy is so powerful.