In the 18th century, a well-known philanthropist, William Tuke, who ran an asylum for the mentally disabled people, found that the presence of animals helped his patients gain more health benefits.
This discovery led to significant research to discover other benefits that animals could provide. Some realized that the presence of pets in experimental rooms helped calm the patients down, while others found that owning pets significantly reduced the chances of getting heart failure.
But in essence, pets do not add or subtract anything from us. The central role, which they play is usually psychological. So, isn’t it logical to say that animals help us primarily by keeping us company? This is how they are able to offer such great psychological benefits, some of which we may not know about yet.
But what are some of these benefits and how can they help you counter stress?
- Increasing the Level of Oxytocin in Your Body.
Oxytocin is a stress-reducing hormone which helps counter cortisol, which is a stress-inducing hormone. Scientists realized that when people watched fish in an aquarium, they were able to read out loud easier compared to when the aquarium was empty. This means that when you play with your pet or watch fish move in an aquarium, you lower the cortisol levels in your body and, therefore, engage in more activities confidently.
- Manipulating the Feeling of Reciprocity
Have you ever been smiled upon by a stranger? Someone who you’d never met, knew or even liked before. Did you smile back? That, my friend, is the feeling of reciprocity. You cannot resist it. No one can.
The same applies to pets. When cute and loving puppies meet your eyes, even when you are in a bad mood, you will always be compelled to forget your moods for a moment. You may find yourself taking them in your hands, giving out a loving hug, and wishing that every person was the same.
And that’s the key to the secret — You might say that cats don’t care or dogs don’t know what’s happening, but the truth is: pets don’t have negative opinions, complaints, or even hatred.
According to researchers, keeping a pet can drastically enhance your mood swings control. A recent study proved that people who were HIV/AIDS Positive were less likely to suffer from depression if they owned pets.
- Eliminating the Feeling of Loneliness and Being Deserted
Despite their inability to speak, pets can also offer companionship in ways that no one can. They can ensure calm and silent environs; they can keep secrets, and also comfort you during your toughest times. In addition to this, animals can eliminate the feeling of loneliness in people, even more than other people can.
One study performed among the elderly showed that people gain a sense of responsibility and purpose when they own pets. The individuals who had a dog or a cat were able to do some daily activities such as taking medication, cleaning up, and even dressing smartly.
In other words, they were able to ignore the feeling of social isolation, which can be a significant cause of stress, especially for the elderly. You can too.
- Reduce Anxiety
Pets can also help you eliminate anxiety. In another study, subjects were asked to do an arithmetic task mentally. Those who did the tasks in front of their pets showed less blood pressure and heart rate, while those doing the tasks in front of their spouses, were more stressed about it.
This is the reason why many dentists keep a fish tank in their dental clinics. Research shows that watching fish before an operation reduces the anxiety of undergoing a dental procedure.
Despite being small animals, pets have the ability to comfort and ridicule you when you are doing stupid and harmful things. Their silent reactions to issues normally speak louder than words.
However, it’s not right to be the only beneficiary in your pet relationship. Pets also need constant supervision and care, just like they will do for you.
Here are some things you should consider doing for your pets to keep them happy.
- Give your pet sufficient food. If you are going to be late, ensure to keep extra food, litter, and supplies.
- Ensure to maintain current vaccinations for your pet.
- Affix proper identification tags for your pet.
- If your fur-friend loves to chew on things, ensure to get them acceptable chew toys.
- Keep your friend and his/her beddings clean at all times.