Who would have thought that pets could replace a good psychotherapist? Not many shrinks would agree to that, and those few are probably are pet-owners too; but more and more researchers have proven that our pets keep us sane, or insane-in-a-good-way, as some teens would put it.
Here at Critter Cabana, we have combined our personal observations with several study results to make a list of 5 + 1 Mental Health Rewards from our relationships with our pets.
- ENHANCED SELF-ESTEEM
Bonding with our pets makes us feel good about ourselves and helps us relate better to other people around us. We are more empathetic and understanding of others. It also makes us better able to deal with rejection.
Growing up with pets, or even owning one later in life, stimulates our capacity to imagine. We are not stumped by difficult problems and obstacles, because our creativity allows us to “think outside the box.”
- PEACE OF MIND
The lowered blood pressure, decreased heart rate and reduced amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which the experts say are effects of our relationship with our pets, simply mean we are better able to deal calmly with the pressures of our jobs and of the daily bustle.
- INCREASED SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS
Meeting with other pet-owners, finding out more about our pets’ needs and even just going out to buy pet food or a pet mag make us pick-up on community activities and projects and what the latest buzz is. We find ourselves happy to help with projects involving environmental issues and, especially for those of us who have exotic pets, we are more aware of the ecology around us.
While happily interacting with our pets, our serotonin and dopamine levels are rising and these feel-good hormones add to the feeling of general well-being that we carry with us throughout the day. Even when troubles confront us, we do not give in to depression.
+ PLUS +
Yes, bodies may age but our minds stay alert, curious and questing!