Pet Ownership for Holistic Well-Being
“The best therapist has fur and four legs.” Unknown
Ask anyone who has a pet and they’ll give you a variety of ways in which they benefit from spending time with their furry friend. Pets add to our lives immeasurably. From a holistic health perspective owning a pet is good for your body, mind and soul.
According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology individuals who own pets see the doctor about 30% less often than those who don’t.
Here are eight reasons why owning a pet can help your mind, body, and spirit.
- Fresh air and sunshine–just being out in nature can provide stress relief. The sun provides vitamin D that helps fight physical and mental conditions including depression, obesity, and heart attacks.
- Physical activity, whether it’s walking your dog or playing catch, gives you a natural energy boost, allows you to let off steam, and makes you more physically fit.
- Having a pet to care for can give you a sense of purpose. Nurturing your pet gives you something positive to focus on. Watching your pet flourish will offer you a sense of fulfillment.
- The act of petting and grooming your dog or cat brings them comfort and is also a stress reliever for you. When you connect with your pet your body releases oxytocin–the hormone related to stress and anxiety relief. This helps reduce blood pressure and lower cortisol levels.
- Pets teach you the practice of mindfulness. Animals are excellent role models on how to be present in the moment. Depression is about being stuck in the past and anxiety is created due to focusing on the future. The photos and videos you have of your furry friend can bring you back to the moment wherever you are! Read our post on mindfulness techniques.
- Pets can be great companions and they help reduce loneliness. They are also intuitive and will seek you out when you’re feeling down–refusing to allow you to remain in a state of isolation and sadness.
- A furry companion can get you out meeting people. Walking your dog or spending time at the local dog park can keep you from isolating yourself. Dogs are naturally adept at making friends and can help you connect with new people. There are also groups that meet based on the pets you have–you already have something in common before your first meeting.
- They love you unconditionally! Nothing compares to the obvious joy displayed by your pet when you walk in the door after a long day at work. This can is the ultimate mood-lifter and stress-buster.
There are countless rescue animals who need a home and would make a wonderful companion. Both of my dogs are rescues and have added so much joy to my life!
Pets offer so much and expect so little in return. The rewards of pet ownership are many. If you don’t currently have a furry companion consider the holistic benefits–and please adopt don’t shop.
If you are blessed with a best friend with paws I would love to hear how this has added to your life!
Peace & Love, Sandra