Dogs help people in many ways, including those that aren’t always evident at first glance. Around 15 million adults in the United States suffer from social anxiety disorder, while countless others experience chronic anxiety. Dogs can ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, providing a compelling reason to add a new furry friend to your life.
Here are some of dog ownership’s many benefits, including boosting your mental health.
How Do Dogs Help People With Anxiety?
Dogs can help with anxiety in several ways. They can show their owners how to be mindful of their surroundings and help them prioritize the present over the past or future. Dogs are full of love for their owners and they help out in many ways, even ones people may not realize.
1. Less Stress
Owning a dog can help you decrease your stress. If you face several stressful situations in your home, your dog will always be there to tell you things will be all right. Whether you have a hectic job or are a senior navigating your golden years, your dog will be there with you to eliminate any tensions that might creep up.
Technology allows people to see doctors from the comfort of their homes, and some physicians are even returning to making house calls. Many patients face anxiety in these situations, particularly seniors who may worry about their physical health. House calls are becoming more prevalent in senior citizens’ homes, and dogs can help keep their owners calm during a doctor’s visit.
2. Healthier Habits
Dogs build healthier habits by nature, and you may also feel less anxious when you feel better. Dogs can help you be active when you otherwise wouldn’t, leading you to an overall healthier lifestyle as you work their needs into your routine. Your dog will need to go outside to use the bathroom, so you’ll be taking more walks from the moment you bring your pup home.
You can also take your pet to a dog park and meet other people, expanding your social circle and easing loneliness.
3. Distraction From Thoughts
Pets require a great deal of responsibility, and you’ll be busy taking care of, training and playing with your pet at any given time. It’s a great way to pull yourself away from screens — which can quickly become a negative type of distraction — and bring yourself to the present, distracting your brain with something that matters.
Plus, pets are bound to do something once in a while that makes you laugh. Dogs are goofy by nature and can do some of the silliest things to boost your mood at any given time. They can make you feel better when you least expect it.
4. Constant Presence
A dog is great for people who need to feel like they have someone there for them at all times. Many individuals don’t like to be alone — it means confronting anxious thoughts and potentially slipping into bad behaviors. Dogs can sense human emotions and know when their owners aren’t feeling good. They understand you, even if they don’t know exactly what’s happening. Almost innately, dogs know how to comfort you best.
5. Cuddle Buddy
Who doesn’t love cuddling with a dog? Petting them can lower stress hormones, making your response less severe and your anxiety more manageable. Not all dogs like to be hugged and cuddled, so you may have to settle for giving yours the best tummy rubs ever. Do what you can to make yourself feel better while keeping your dog happy.
How Do Dogs Help With Depression?
Dogs can also help their owners fight depressive symptoms. Their relaxing natures can help people feel at ease and remind them that someone loves them, even if they feel alone in the world. Depression isn’t quite the same as anxiety, but many symptoms and effects of deteriorating mental health are the same. Even so, dogs know how to deal with depression, too.
People with high-functioning depression may not look how you would expect. They might appear happy on the outside, but they could lose interest in the things they used to love. If someone you know shows signs of depression, consider reaching out to them. If you recognize these signs in yourself, contact others and spend time with your pet. Dogs help people, and your pet can tune into your emotions and possibly boost your mood.
Dogs Help People Feel Better
It’s hard to deny the fact that dogs help people. Dogs help with anxiety by showing their owners how to remain calm and present in a situation that may otherwise feel overwhelming. Adopting a pet could benefit your physical and mental health in several ways. Consider bringing a dog into your household, and you’ll find that your entire family has less stress and more chances to appreciate the smaller things life offers.