By Kristen Cockrell
If school or work is weighing you down, consider adopting a pet! Furry friends, including cats and dogs, will help you both mentally and physically. According to WebMD, “Research has found that owning a dog can lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, and boost levels of feel-good chemicals in the brain.” In addition, having a pet to come home to can decrease depression by providing companionship, love, and acceptance.
Walking a dog or interactively playing with a cat or other furry friend can keep humans more physically active. After all, it is the owner’s responsibility to make sure their pets get the exercise they need to stay healthy and fit. And what could be more fun than playing and spending time with your pets?
If you have a pet that can go outdoors, odds are you’ll have more social interaction, which can also decrease depression. You might meet neighbors while walking your dog or other pet owners while waiting at the vet’s office. According to Web MD, it’s easy for pet owners to meet and begin talking to one another. “Pets are natural icebreakers, and other pet owners love to talk about their animals.”
Personally, I love going home to my pets after a long day at work. Interacting with them or even watching them play can relieve stress and provide much-needed entertainment. They have become part of my family and my heart. Their happiness makes me happy, regardless of my other circumstances. They can improve my mood or relieve my stress rather quickly.
If you feel depressed, stressed, or even just a bit lonely, I encourage you to consider adopting a pet from a local shelter or rescue. You shouldn’t let the responsibility of a pet keep you from getting one. Though they do require work and attention, having something to care for and take responsibility of can actually be a big part of stress reduction. Remember that a pet is a lifelong commitment, though, so only adopt one if you know you are truly ready and have the time and finances to invest in its care.