Psychological Impacts

Pets do not offer only physical affects, but psychological ones as well. Animal companions are able to offer positive mental health benefits not only to clients with psychological issues, but also for the normal, everyday people. Pills, therapies, and exercise are often the most prominent forms of solutions to mental health problems, sometimes with side effects or poor response rates. But do you know that our pets also can play a role in maintaining good psychological and emotional well-being in us? The following list of, similarly, comprehensive yet incomplete list of benefits provides a general insight into and overview of the psychological impacts that pets can offer. For further description of each benefit, please click on the respective tab.

A pet delivers a form of companionship, affection and joy that humans are not able to provide to one another. Pets offer valuable lessons on friendship, responsibility, ownership, confidence to their owners as well as children from young; pet owners also forged a unique yet indispensable bond with their animals.

At home, the presence of pets can also create the feeling of being needed, not entirely in the physical sense such as having to walk your dog on a daily basis, but also emotionally. In the working world, the concept of pet-friendly offices is also gradually becoming more prominent for various reasons, such as facilitating the fostering of trust and friendliness between co-workers. As a result, one’s job may just be more bearable and enjoyable in the long-run. Pet owners are generally less likely to feel lonely and even be susceptible to mental health problems such as depression.

One fundamental ingredient to a healthy mind is staying engaged with people, and pet owners have a tendency to want to initiate conversations with other pet owners. Animals can be an instant icebreaker for persons with pet ownership: People, both pet owners and non-pet owners, are likely to stop to talk to you when they see you with your pet. Visiting a dog park also allows you to socialise with other dog owners just as your dog socialises with other dogs.

Of course, pet ownership also essentially means having “someone” (that is, your pet) to interact with all the time, especially for those who live alone. Interaction with animals is also rather effective among the elderly, a population who can be especially vulnerable to loneliness. In fact, spending time with animals can increase the levels of happiness.

Pets have the uncanny capacity to reduce anxiety and stress levels. They facilitate the decrease in cortisol levels, a stress hormone, and the increase of serotonin levels, a chemical associated with an individual’s emotional well-being. These in turn helps a person reduce stress and feel mentally better, a movement that allows your body to avoid wear and tear.

Pets are also a great way to beat the blues, facilitating for better happiness levels. Not only are they known to they offer non-judgemental and unconditional love, they may also give their owners a sense of purpose, which can be crucial for those feeling down in the dumps. 
Pets can help owners to relax and focus their attention away from problems and worries. The act of simply watching or petting our pets can be soothing and calming. At the workplace, pets also help to increase office productivity by encouraging employees to take the much-needed breaks beneficial for mental rest.
Therapists have been known to prescribe a pet as a way of dealing with and recovering from depression. Companion animals may be particularly helpful to individuals who do not have sufficient support from family or close friends. They provide unconditional love and acceptance that not all humans can offer, also delivering a soothing and supportive presence. Looking after a pet helps to distract you momentarily especially when you require a break from your issues. Additionally, you are allowed to talk and “share your problems” with your pet for however long you wish. A pet’s natural routine – waking you in the morning, demanding food or walks – also facilitates one's efforts to stay on a track. In fact, having a daily schedule is important for people with depression.
Children often turn to their pet for comfort if a friend or family member dies or leaves the family. Grieving adults who do not have a close or dependable source of human support are also less depressed when they have a pet to rely on for emotional support.

The ability of pets to provide comfort to humans during a serious illness or grief is recognised by medical professionals today. People who are facing death or mourning the loss of a loved one are often calmed and reassured by the loving and undemanding presence of their animal companion.
Pet care can replace or satiate a person's need for parent-child care, especially for parents whose children have grown up and became independent beings, or those who do not have a child and wish to care for a younger being. Keeping and looking after a pet can instil a similar sense of care in these adults, thereby meeting one's need for child rearing and improving their psychological well-being.

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