One thing you should understand about your mental health is that there isn’t a miracle cure. If you struggle with a mental illness, it’s a long road to recovery. Still, this shouldn’t stop you from searching for ways to make your condition easier to handle.
The key is to add meaning to your life, which lots of people do through pet ownership. Having a pet, according to people in the know, is incredibly fulfilling. While it’s no guarantee, there are reasons owning an animal could be good for your wellbeing. Here are four factors to keep in mind if you’re considering adding to your family.
Your mental health is hard to calibrate when you don’t feel valued. Unfortunately, we don’t always get the love we need for family and friends. However, this isn’t the case for dogs since they offer unconditional love and support, regardless of what you have done, how you look, or how you feel inside. This is one of the main mental health benefits of pets that is backed up by science. Studies highlight how people who experience loneliness suffer from it less when they spend time with a pooch, especially when it was quality time alone.
Part of being lonely is having no one to talk to during difficult periods of your life. A support group is essential, yet pets can’t talk, so it’s tempting to assume they can’t lend a hand. In reality, 76% of people agree human-animal interactions can help address social isolation, which is a significant number. The figure is high because pets encourage their owners to get out of the house, and this leads to interaction with other pet owners. If you have a dog, for instance, you have to walk them several times each day, and this increases the likelihood of starting conversations.
33%. That’s the number of adults in the UK who aren’t getting enough exercise. This is problematic in itself, but it’s even worse if your mental health isn’t in tip-top condition. Failing to work out prevents you from relieving stress, which causes it to build and boil over. Plus, the mental and physical elements are linked, so an unhealthy body will reflect in your brain. Finding excuses is straightforward when you’re only letting yourself down. When you’re harming your pet, it’s much tougher to say you won’t go for a walk or a run. Animals will guilt-trip you into being active!
Distracting yourself from your mental health might not be a healthy long-term strategy, but it’s recommended to get you through challenging periods. After all, life is much simpler when you clear your mind of negativity. Pets do it automatically. How? It can happen in a variety of ways, from sorting out their dinner to making sure they don’t pee in the house! Of course, just playing around is enough to lift your spirits and alter your perspective.
A pet can change your life by reducing loneliness, making you more active, and distracting you. However, it’s not a foolproof plan, so you shouldn’t expect an animal to eliminate harmful thoughts and emotions.