Puppy Love! How Animals Help You Heal
Maybe you are sitting with that little furball of yours next to you right now. Perhaps your pet is curled up with its head in your lap as you are reading this.
Our pets become part of our family. They bring us more happiness and joy than we ever thought possible. And they might be doing you even more good than you thought.
The studies and research continue to grow - your fluffy little buddy is actually making you healthier.
Animals have an abundant amount of healing energy. It comes in different shapes and forms, keeping your mental health in check and filling your soul. If you own a pet, you undoubtedly felt it before - the feelings of love, comfort, and calm that an animal can bring into your life.
How can these animals bring us such joy? How can they help you heal your soul and find your life’s path?
Your Animal Friend Heals Your Loneliness
This one might be fairly obvious. However, maybe you didn’t know your little friend harboured such strong healing energy!
Surprisingly, the top reason individuals turn to therapy is due to loneliness. According to Psychology Today, animals provide us with the need for company and the need to be loved. They fill this gap.
Even just their presence may calm you. Research shows looking into your furry friend’s eyes actually lowers your heart rate.
Stressed about work? Down and out about your most recent break-up? Spend some time with your pet! It may lower your stress levels and help you find peace or come to terms with recent events. Their company may be just what you need to move forward into the life you deserve.
Pet Therapy is a Real Thing
Pet therapy became a method to treat a variety of mental disorder in the 1960’s.
In fact, pet therapy was discovered entirely by accident. The child that a psychologist was treating at the time responded to treatment better when the psychologist’s dog was in the room.
Since then, animal therapy has helped treat stroke patients, Alzheimer’s patients, traumatic brain injuries, depression, anxiety disorders, and more.
But, what is the link? A common trend in a variety of health issues and mental disorders is withdrawal from society and a lack of motivation. Pet therapy comes into play by filling a person’s mental health needs, like the aforementioned need to be loved and the need for company.
Other sides to pet therapy have noticed children specifically don’t feel judged by animals. Animals can’t talk back, for the most part. They listen. Kids in therapy may talk directly to the therapy animal as opposed to the counselor. In turn, the counselor is offered insight into the child’s mind and way of thinking and can harness this information to help them.
Further, certain animals, such as dogs, respond to our emotions. When an owner is in distress, their dog may also become distressed. When you are sad, your dog may pick up on it and move closer to try to provide comfort. They play into our emotional needs, helping us grasp that healing energy when times are tough.
The Special Pet-Owner Bond
Interestingly, the special bond between you and your pet can be measured via blood tests. Certain biochemical processes and responses take place during your interactions with your animal buddy. These biochemical reactions promote feelings of love and yes, both sides feel it!
The chemicals produced also create feelings of peace, safety, and satisfaction - feelings you may desperately need during those hard life hurdles.
How Else Do Animals Help Us Heal?
It’s not just about the bond created between human and animal, but also about the care and nurturing that goes into looking after your pet. Let us explain.
1. They Improve Your Cardiovascular Health
As aforementioned, animals can lower your blood pressure, boosting your cardio health. If we take this a step further, most animals need some form of physical exercise to stay in good health.
Animals force you to get out of the house and go for walks. We know physical activity is good for us. Your body functions its best when movement is done on the regular. It keeps your heart strong and your muscles activated.
Surprisingly, one study even found that a person was less likely to die within a year after having a heart attack if they were a dog owner. A strong physical body translates into a strong emotional and mental state. Thank your little friend for this!
2. Your Fur Baby Decreases Your Pain Levels
Stress relief provides pain relief in some ways. Chronic stress can cause varying degrees of negative effects on the body, including painful muscle tightness or strains. Your furry friend decreases your stress levels and increases levels of oxytocin.
Oxytocin promotes feelings of trust and happiness. By switching up your attitude and feelings, the body is better equipped to heal, reducing your pain levels.
3. They Provide Purpose
Your pet needs you to live. Another being needs you. It might not sound like much, but for many, it offers a driving force to push forward. Your pet gives you motivation when you may need it the most.
This sense of purpose might flip your perspective to a more positive one. When you are feeling down, you might push negative thoughts aside, straighten up, and get things done (such as feed or walk your dog and do other necessary errands or chores). Just proving to yourself that you can do these things might boost your self-confidence.
So, let your pet ground you! Let them give you the healing energy to move forward. Heck, even talk to them if you need it. They will likely sit happily as you vent.
4. They Force You to Socialize
... Maybe. They at least give you a topic for conversation. They can offer ways for you to get out more - have you checked out that dog park close by? Plus, it’s likely people have approached you when you take your pet out. People are drawn to animals.
You can use your pet as an ice-breaker and help push past your comfort zone. Try it out. Socializing is huge when it comes to your mental health and overall well-being.
Thank your furry friend! They offer more than you thought. Let them provide positive healing power. Allow them into your soul. Your life will be that much better for it.