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Pet ownership helps mental health

According to 2021-2022 statistics, about 70 percent of households in the United States and 90.5 million families own pets. Studies show that owning a pet boosts a person’s happiness just by taking care of it. A pet can be seen as part of the family or a close friend to a person or group. However, owning a pet can help with mental health.

Studies say owning a pet reduces stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, and self-confidence. The bond between a pet and human releases oxytocin, a hormone associated with not only happiness but bonding and affection. This is why mental health facilities have offered pet therapy as a treatment. Having a pet helps with coping, illness and mental disorders.

Owning a pet helps with depression because of the undying love and affection from the animal. Animals want attention from their owners and always want to be around them. Suicide is prevalent among people with depression, so having a pet that wants love and attention from its owners will boost the spirit of the person with depression. As a result, the person can feel a reason to live and acknowledge the precious gift of life.

Anxiety decreases with owning a pet due to the increase in self-confidence. Pets are great listeners and provide excellent comfort. The effect of having self-confidence will help increase social skills as well. For example, having a pet will open new discussion topics. Owning a pet is very common, so it is easy to talk to others about the type of pet the person has or the personality the pet possesses.

Owning a pet can be for companionship. When feeling lonely, it is important to have someone or something close by for comfort. Pets are just like humans, always craving companionship. Having a pet is a symbiotic relationship. If the animal is receiving attention, so is the human who could feel lonely. An animal will give attention if it shows loyalty and consistent affection.

Pet ownership can also help with stress levels. Research and studies have concluded petting an animal releases the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is released to help with stress. Having a pet will help people forget their problems and focus on giving the animal the attention and love it craves. Giving attention to the animal also helps reduce a person’s blood pressure and creates relaxation just by petting.

There are many different methods in helping with mental health and using pets is one of those. Pets desire the attention of their masters just as humans desire attention and care. Having a pet will change a person’s perspective on life, boosting happiness and self-confidence. Taking care of an animal will help with anxiety and stress just by spending time with the pet. Pets are not just for having a family member; they can have to take care of you, too.

by Mikayla Rainey

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