A Dog’s Love… helping to keep us emotionally fit.
Four in 10 Americans are struggling with a mental health issue or drug-related problem, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, self-deprivation, stress or loneliness can be a constant battle. Often fought alone.
For those of us lucky enough to have found a companion in a dog, there are many proven facts that canine companions can help reduce mental health issues. Here are a few ways our canine friends help keep us emotionally healthy:
- The knowledge that you are caring for someone else - can make the world of difference. Having a living being that is dependent on you for food, shelter, love and medical needs gives one the sense of worthiness, of making a difference. That feeling alone can give one purpose, a reason to get up in the morning and start a new day.
- Distractions from one’s troubles – everyone has bad days and a pet companion can help distract you from the things that are bothering you at that time. Taking a little time out from your worries can help put things in perspective.
- Walking – a path to a better you – scheduling regular walking times will keep your mind and body active. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body that can give one a “natural high.” So grab the leash and go for a walk!
- Social Interaction – many of us find it hard to meet people. A dog can be the perfect unifier. Dog lovers share a commonality – they love dogs! – So when meeting someone new, a comment about your dog is a natural ice breaker. A single complement can turn into a canine question which may ignite a longer discussion. Even a single passing smile of acknowledgment can make your day brighter.
- Unconditional Love – we’ve all heard it – a dog’s love is unconditional and because of this we also know that sharing time with someone who loves you for loving them is time well spent.
According to a Nationwide Human Animal Bond Research (HABRI) survey, 96% of pet owners agreed that their pet has had a positive impact on their life. 85% of pet owners reported their pet brings them joy, 82% said their pet comforts them, and 73% said their pet enhances their mental health.
Visualize this quote and see if it doesn’t bring a smile to your face!
“When an eighty-five pound mammal licks your tears away, then tries to sit on your lap, it's hard to feel sad.”
― Kristan Higgins, Catch of the Day