When thinking of ways to reduce stress in life, usually techniques like meditation, yoga and journaling come to mind. These are immense techniques. But getting a new best friend can also have many stress relieving and health benefits. Unless you're someone who really dislikes animals or is absolutely too busy to care for one properly, pets can provide excellent social support, stress relief and other health benefits-perhaps more than people! There are more health benefits of pets:
Pets Can Improve Your Mood: For those who love animals, it's virtually impossible to stay in a bad mood when a pair of loving puppy eyes meets yours, or when a super-soft cat rubs up against your hand. Research supports the mood-enhancing benefits of pets.
Pets Encourage You To Get Out And Exercise: We walk our dogs because they need it, or are more likely to enjoy a walk when we have companionship, dog owners do spend more time walking than non-pet owners. Because exercise is good for stress management and overall health, owning a dog can be credited with increasing these benefits.
Pets Stave Off Loneliness and Provide Unconditional Love: Pets can be there for you in ways that people can't. They can enjoy comfortable silences, keep secrets and are excellent snugglers and also offer love and companionship. And they could be the best antidote to loneliness. Actually, research shows that nursing home residents reported less loneliness when visited by dogs than when they spent time with other people! All these advantages can reduce the amount of stress people experience in response to feelings of social isolation and lack of social support from people.
Pets Can Reduce Stress-sometimes more Than People: All of us know the power of talking about problems with a good friend who's also a good listener. But recent research shows that spending time with a pet may be even better. When conducting a task that's stressful, people actually experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a supportive friend or even their spouse was present! (This may be partially due to the fact that pets don't judge us; they just love us.)
It's important to realize that owning a pet isn't for everyone. Pets do come with additional work and responsibility, which can bring its own stress. However, for most people, the benefits of having a pet outweigh the drawbacks. Having a furry best friend can reduce stress in your life and bring you support when times get tough.