Sadly, mental health problems have been steadily on the rise for a number of years and people are looking for new ways to treat and manage their mental health issues. Traditional mental health medication is often very strong and can have some serious side effects. Powerful psychological drugs can leave people feeling detached or emotionless and so people stop taking their medication. Even for people without serious mental health problems, modern life is extremely stressful and the number of people suffering from depression and financial and social anxiety is skyrocketing. There are many studies that show that having a pet can significantly improve mental health. Pets help us relax and provide a non-judgemental confidante to listen to our problems. In this article, we will explore the mental health benefits of having a pet by your side.
1. Pets are Non-Judgemental
Whatever is going on in your life, your pet is a totally non-judgemental listener who you can talk to in complete confidence. Pets can often sense when you are upset or troubled about something and will try to cheer you up. For people with depression, anxiety, or other similar issues, pets can be an amazing listener who you can confide in with complete trust. Dogs can sense when you are feeling sad and are always eager to console you in times of trouble. Dogs make the best emotional support animals because they genuinely empathize and commit themselves to cheer you up when you are down. With all that these pets can give you, it might be the perfect time to get one and you may start if you qualify using a confidential screening test. Unlike people, who might judge you, a dog has no opinion on your actions and merely wishes to help you through whatever problems you are having.
2. Pets Can Help You Feel Accepted
One of the most detrimental effects of mental health issues is that they can make sufferers feel totally isolated from everyone else. The best way to feel connected is through physical interaction, and touching a pet is the perfect way to build confidence in physical contact. All of the feelings of anxiety that someone might feel about touching or being touched by another person fade away when you are having physical contact with a calm, patient pet. One of the most negative feelings that a person can experience is the feeling of rejection, but your pet will never reject you. All pets love to be stroked and petted and so you will never feel rejected.
3. Pets Help to Instill a Sense of Responsibility
One of the main symptoms of depression and social anxiety is an indifferent malaise that can be really hard to shake off. More and more people these days are experiencing mental health problems that manifest themselves in a general ennui or in a complete rejection of a normal daily routine. It can be very easy to live your life without purpose or with a total lack of motivation, but if you have a pet that depends on you, it will inject some much-needed responsibility into your day to day life.
Pets need and deserve adequate care and attention, so for many people whose mental issues have caused them to step back from societal norms, a pet will ensure that they have something for which they are responsible and cannot just give up. Pets need feeding, cleaning, exercise, and health check-ups, all of which require a conscientious effort and can help people with all kinds of emotional and mental issues to learn how to be responsible.
4. Pets Can Give You a Sense of Purpose
Our mental health is at its most tenuous when we start asking ourselves what exactly we are living for. Declines in mental health exactly mirror periods of widespread job losses or economic hardships, or at a personal level, the months following the death of a loved one. Many people define themselves by their job and if they experience a period of unemployment it can seriously affect your self-esteem. Studies have shown that unemployed people who own a pet are far more likely to get through a period of unemployment with no lasting damage to their mental health than an unemployed person with no pet. It can be so easy if you are not working to just stay in bed all day and hope that things will turn around, but the responsibilities of looking after a pet cause you to get up and address your situation.
Unfortunately, these days, more and more of us are experiencing the horrible effects of mental health issues. Whilst there are many medications available to help you to function, they are not designed to get to the root of the problem. Pets have been proved by numerous studies to have an incredible effect on our mental health. Pets can help people to stay calm and can provide a companion for vulnerable members of society who otherwise would be very lonely.