Nowadays, it seems that more and more people have emotional support animals. With all that we’ve learned about pets in recent years, it’s no surprise. Pets have been a part of our lives for almost ten thousand years for a good reason: they help us stay healthy both physically and mentally.
1. Pets help lower blood pressure.
Petting an animal can help lower blood pressure and release relaxation hormones for both you and your pet. This can help you calm down if you’re feeling anxious.
2. Pets help reduce symptoms of depression.
Taking care of another living being has also been shown to help reduce symptoms of depression. It’s a responsibility you can’t set aside because the pet depends on you completely. Being forced to focus on something outside of your own misery can help you break free of the cycle of depressive thoughts.
3. Detecting early warnings.
Animals are more sensitive to a lot of things than we are, so they can often alert you to trouble. There have been many stories of animals detecting cancer and changes in blood sugar levels, predicting seizures and panic attacks, and sensing whether someone is trustworthy or not. That’s not to say that every pet will have these quasi-superpowers, but often when pets display an erratic change in their behavior (and there’s nothing wrong with them health-wise) they’re trying to tell us something.
4. Keeping you active.
Animals can help you stay active. This mainly applies to dogs, who usually need to be walked on a regular basis, but all animals benefit from playtime. If your pet rarely or never leaves the house, it’s important to find different ways to keep them active. This requires you to be active as well, so you and your pet can end up being workout partners.
5. Starting conversations.
Pets can also help you connect with people. They are great conversation starters. Most people love meeting new dogs, for example. And since the conversation is focused on the dog and not you or the other person, it’s less pressure.
If you have an unusual pet, this can also be a great conversation starter. I met a lot of people during my freshman year because I had pet rats. Lots of people weren’t even aware that rats could be domesticated!
6. Boosts a child’s immune system
Growing up with pets can help boost a child’s immune system—the earlier their exposure, the better. They’re exposed to more germs, meaning the body builds up more of an immunity, and they’re less likely to develop allergies. This is especially important in today’s world where exposure to germs is limited as much as possible.
7. They keep you on your toes
Owning a pet can also keep your mind sharp. Pets are more intelligent than we give them credit for, and they need enrichment. Coming up with new ways to entertain them can be a challenge. But playing with them creatively can also be very rewarding.
Above all, pets love you unconditionally. Even if you were just yelled at by your boss for making a stupid mistake, your pet will still be ecstatic to see you because you coming home is the best part of their day. You are their favorite person and nobody can replace you.