Pets can be more than just a fun companion, they can have an incredibly positive impact on our mental health. Studies from the National Institutes of Health found that pet owners are more likely to report higher self-esteem, lower levels of loneliness, and overall greater life satisfaction. Let’s take a look at some of the ways pets can improve our mental health.
One of the main benefits of owning a pet is the companionship they provide us with. Having someone to come home to and talk to can be incredibly comforting and provide us with an emotional connection that we otherwise wouldn’t have. Pets also don’t judge us or criticize us like humans sometimes do which makes it easier for us to open up and express ourselves in ways we may not feel comfortable doing with people.
Owning a pet can help reduce stress levels as well as symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is because when we care for another living being there are certain hormones released that make us happy such as oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin, prolactin, and endorphins. Caring for a pet also encourages us to focus our attention on something other than our problems which helps reduce stress levels in the long run. Additionally, spending time outdoors with your pet has been linked to improved moods due to exposure to natural sunlight as well as physical activity which releases endorphins into our bloodstreams.
Pets are great conversation starters! People who own pets are often seen as more approachable by strangers which makes it easier for them to start conversations or join social activities with others who own pets or simply appreciate animals in general. Owning a pet may even help you find new friends with similar interests or even romantic partners if you’re looking for that special someone who is also an animal lover!
Overall, owning a pet provides numerous mental health benefits that range from reducing stress levels and improving social interaction skills to increasing self-esteem and providing companionship during difficult times. If you live in the Winter Park area and need additional support from a licensed therapist, contact Orlando Thrive Therapy today! With their professional team of counselors and therapists dedicated to helping individuals improve their mental wellness, you will be sure to receive personalized care tailored specifically for your needs!
Heather Oller is the owner and founder of Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching, and Counseling. She is a licensed counselor and a family mediator who has over 23 years of dedicated work as a professional in the mental health field. Through her company's mission, she continues to pave the way for future therapists, and their clients, who want a higher quality of life....and who want to thrive, rather than just survive. You can contact Orlando Thrive Therapy at (407) 592-8997 for more information.