Dogs have been known to have a very positive effect on our mental health. From providing companionship to making us laugh and giving us unconditional love, dogs, in many ways, can make us happier and healthier individuals!
Research has found that petting a dog can reduce stress levels and lower cortisol hormone – the stress hormone. This, in turn, may lead to a better mood, improved sleep patterns and increased feelings of happiness. Also, owing to the exceptional empathy and understanding that dogs possess, interacting with them can often times help reduce feelings of loneliness, frustration and helplessness.
Dogs can also provide an opportunity for those who struggle with social interaction to still connect with other humans. If someone is feeling anxious and doesn’t want to socialise, it is easy to become invisible in public when accompanied by a dog – humans will naturally be drawn to them. Dogs possess the unique ability to break ice and start conversations, thus facilitating opportunities for interactions and conversations!
Dogs also offer unconditional love and companionship. Unlike people, dogs do not judge or discriminate. They are always there for their owners and will not argue, judge or criticize. This makes them a trustworthy companion that can be relied upon for comfort and companionship at any time.
Moreover, those who suffer from mental health issues may turn to destructive or unhealthy habits – such as smoking and drinking - in an attempt to manage their emotions. Dogs can prevent this by providing an activity to keep their owners occupied, thus reducing the risk of them turning to these habits. Going for walks and playing can provide a distraction and an endorphin-boosting exercise.
All in all, dogs can have a huge positive impact on one’s mental health. They can provide comfort and companionship, which is of the utmost importance for mental health. Furthermore, they can help to reduce stress, provide an opportunity for social interaction, prevent unhealthy habits and even improve sleep patterns.
Ultimately, leaning on your dog can bring great joy and happiness, and make the world a little brighter.