How Dogs Improve Your Mental Health
A dog checks all the boxes of qualities you would seek for in a best friend. And obviously so, since they love you unconditionally, are loyal and dependent, and always ready to cuddle with you. As if that weren’t reason enough, here are some scientifically proven ways in which a dog can improve your mental well-being.
Dogs Are Great Stress-Relievers.
This is a stressful world we live in, and dogs have been proven to help ease such stressors. Major companies, such as Amazon and Etsy, have acknowledged the benefits of having dogs in a stressful environment and encourage their employees to show up to work with their friendly canines. Many colleges have also introduced therapy dogs to their stressed-out students to help relieve their stress.
Dogs teach mindfulness
Dogs teach their owners to be mindful and present at the moment. They can take each moment as it comes and focus their undivided attention on the situation. Even when going out for a simple walk, they allow themselves to feel every sensation and revel in it. Dog owners focused only on how to discipline a puppy can take a page out of their book and learn to enjoy each day as it comes.
Dogs teach you to be one with nature.
Research shows that walking through nature can help alleviate stress, soothe pain, and enhance creativity. Walking a dog along naturally endowed places such as the park or a beach can be mentally and physically beneficial for both the dog and the owner.
Dogs offer empathy.
Several dogs have been trained to help monitor their owner’s emotional agitations. Research has shown that dogs can detect human emotions and can help people overcome their anger and anxiety. These trained dogs simply put their heads on their owner’s laps to help or provide a signal to practice mindful breathing.
Dogs alleviate depression and loneliness.
Owning a dog means you are never going to be lonely again. The bond between a dog and a human is so intense that it has a positive effect on the brain. Add to that, dogs have been attributed to lowering depression and providing a calming presence in their owners’ lives.
Dogs provide comfort.
Dogs help comfort their owners from their misery or pain. Some owners have found comfort and strength to help overcome their grief by just sitting with their dogs by their side. In several states of the U.S.A, including Orange County, therapy dogs have been helping provide comfort to child sexual abuse victims.
Dogs help people find meaning in life.
While dog owners tend to their dogs, they also gain a purpose and meaning to their own lives. Humans thrive when they can take care of someone else’s needs other than their own. For many people, especially the elderly, caring for a dog may help alleviate depression and provide happiness.
Dogs make you more social.
Not only do dog owners get physical exercise while walking their dogs, but they also get a chance to talk to other dog owners like themselves. Dogs can help you strike up conversations with several others in your community and can make you seem more approachable and likable.
Owning a dog is a lot of responsibility, but a dog more than makes up for it by offering you its unconditional love and companionship. In a world where everything is available at the tips of your fingers, a dog helps you stay connected to the real world and helps improve your physical and mental health.