Do you own a pet? If you’re one of the many people who do, you might be able to find some surprising mental health benefits from living with one!
You might already be familiar with some of the benefits of pet ownership: constant companionship, love, and affection. But there’s actually an entire term dedicated to studying the benefits you might not immediately notice. It’s called the pet effect, and there’s been a lot of research that shows there are quite a few additional perks.
For starters, pet owners have reported their mental health has improved after owning a pet (over 74% of them!) Even those around the pet owners have noticed, with over 75% of the pet owner’s friends and family reporting their mental health has improved. They have also reported increased happiness, focus, and less depression.
On the biological side, pet owners have seen a decrease in measurable stress (such as fear or anxiety) and an increase in oxytocin levels in the brain. In case you didn’t know, oxytocin has been linked to feelings of social connection and love, both of which help with feelings of happiness! These can have huge effects on the mental wellbeing of those who own pets!
Pets and therapy animals can also help alleviate stress, anxiety, depression, and feelings of loneliness and social isolation. This is especially true in helping people manage their long-term mental health conditions. A recent study found that pets not only provide a sense of security and routine but also provided emotional and social support.
Make sure you appreciate your pet! They do a lot to help with your mental health in ways you’d never expect and can provide you with a substantial boost to your overall health and wellbeing. But it doesn’t take a study to know that!