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10 Ways Pets Affect Mood, Self esteem and Mental Health

    How pets affect our mental health

    Have you ever felt lonely?

    Despite the loving family or the close-knit friend group you have. Was there ever a time where you just felt so low that you needed a companion with you?

    If you answered yes, then maybe you should get a pet.

    jack terrier being curious

    During the pandemic, pet shops, pounds, and adoption centers saw a rise in people coming in to get pets.

    Whether it was a cat, dog, ferret, bunny, or a hamster. Humans couldn’t stand the thought of staying at home alone. Or handle the feeling of being so lonely. So, they went out and got a furry friend instead!

    Getting a pet is the most fun thing to experience.

    You get to know your furry friend’s personality. You get to have all these sweet moments with them.

    But did you know there are actually benefits to having a pet?

    Besides the obvious ones. There are actual scientific reasons behind why having a pet impacts your mood & self-esteem. There may even be some cons as well.

    1.    They can give you that serotonin boost.

    cute dog staring

    What is serotonin you ask?

    Well, to put it in to simple terms. It is the chemical in our bodies that make us happy. When you enjoy that ice cream or hang out with your friends.

    A boost of serotonin goes into your brain. The same thing happens when we hang out with our pets.

    Playing with them and having them around makes us smile.

    It brings another type of joy into your life. Maybe one that you seem to be lacking. This can help with your daily mental health. Gives you something to smile about.

    Even when you don’t want to. There’s a reason all those funny cat videos make you laugh so much.

    sleeping cat

    With working at home being more common, it comes with more stress.

    Studies have shown that having a pet has actually helped lower work stress. As well as increase employee satisfaction.

    If you don’t work from home, having a pet is a great way to reduce stress in general. You come home from a bad day. And immediately you’re greeted by your furry friend. It is happy and ecstatic to see you. So much that it makes you forget all about that bad day at work.

    3.    Increase productivity.

    When a dog joins a virtual meeting, group members tend to rank their team mates higher on several criteria such as trust, team cohesion and camaraderie.

    Some workplaces have adapted a work dog that is owned by the company. It’ll walk around and act as a pet to the employees. This helps relieve some tension in the workplace.

    You’ll be surprised at how much work you get done with a pet around.

    funny pet quote

    4.    Helps manage anxiety.

    Have you ever heard of those cat cafes?

    It’s a cafe that has cats just walking around and you can play with them while you enjoy coffee. Those cafes came about through an idea of making cafes less stressful. They have actually proven to help lower anxiety.

    Same concept with stress, pets help lower our anxious nature.

    Actually, animals can sense when we are anxious. Our body tensing may not be noticeable to other humans, but your cat can notice. Even your dog. When they sense something off with their owner, they become more affectionate to relieve that anxiety.

    5.    Helps us build healthy habits.

    girl playing with a pet

    You ever notice those videos that pet owners make if their pet waking them up for food? That’s because that pet has the owner on a schedule.

    We get some physical movement/activity: Pet owners who have pets with physical activity needs take their pets for walks regularly. Which helps the owner benefit from some exercise that is needed. Now if you have a high active pet, you will surely get your run in. A common reason as to why people get highly active pets. Just for this benefit.

    Getting to be outside: When you walk your pets, theirs benefits for being outside.  Many people take advantage of having a pet and go on hikes. Or find new park trails to walk through. It helps lessen your time in that recycled air home and in a fresher location. This is a big benefit for the people who work from home. You’re inside 24/7 which isn’t good for your health. This in the long run will help with your body physique. And hey, maybe you will come to love going on walks and maybe will want to go on a hike.

    Having to get up in the morning: Most pets need to be fed on certain type of schedule. This results in pet owners needing to get up and take care of them—no matter what they are doing. When you have a pet it’s already on a routine.

    Pets support us to take care of ourselves: When you care for any pet for that matter it reminds us to care for ourselves as well.  You care for your own dog, and it helps you remember to do the same for yourself. Teens who care for horses have shown that responsibility traits rise.

    6.    Help build relationship skills.

    Having a pet is a great starter for building relationships.

    “But how is being friendly with an animal benefiting me to relationships?”

    Well, any relationship with a living thing can be meaningful. Having a pet teaches you valuable relationship skills that you can apply to humans. Such as showing empathy, compassion, quality time, and responsibility of actions.

    7.    Supports social connection.

    man with his dog on the desert

    By having a pet, it helps give you a social life. Maybe not the one with humans, but a connection. Y

    ou talk to your pets, and they can understand you in a way. This helps satisfy our social connection. Now it should be a stepping stone to talking to other people. In fact, having a pet is a great Segway into a conversation with someone.

    8.    Makes us feel needed.

    Our pets depend on us. We feed them, give them shelter, take care of them when they’re sick, etc. And at the end of the day, they love us unconditionally.

    They make us feel like we are needed.

    funny dog quote

    9.    Increase our sense of self-esteem & well-being!

    When you look at having a pet it can make you feel better about yourself. You get to give yourself a pat on the back.

    You’re doing a hard job and maintaining it. All while having  a friend that loves you no matter what. This can help with certain traits in yourself:

    • Improved self-esteem
    • More physically fit
    • Not feeling alone
    • Less worried
    • Happier

    10. Can help with mental health healing/therapy.

    stroking a cat

    If you didn’t know there are such things as emotional support dogs. These dogs are medically trained to help out their owner in case of a medical emergency.

    Usually, it is given to people with mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. They help bring some happiness and structure to their life. As well as a constant sense of companionship. It has been proven that pets can help immensely with mental health healing and therapy.

    Having a pet can be so fun. It is like having a lifelong friend. You get to be loved by another living thing. Someone that doesn’t care about your flaws or quirks. They love you unconditionally. When you have a pet, there are so many pros to it. Many reasons as to why it is great to have one.

    But there are some downsides to having a pet.

    hamster eating

    More Living Expenses

    Having a pet isn’t the cheapest thing in the world. Animals have their own diseases. And can get sick from time to time. The initial costs to get ready to home the said pet is taken in to account.

    And then you have recurring expenses such as food, toys, and vet checkups. As well as pet insurance if you can afford it.

    Caring for it while you’re away.

    Unless you work form home or a stay-at-home parent. You aren’t going to be around your pet 24/7. And pets can get lonely themselves. Especially, if you are prone to traveling a lot. You will have to find someone to take care of them. Or if you can’t then the expense of a daycare comes up. Having a dog or cat can also lead to some constraints when it comes to your outings—you will have to return home to make sure your pal is properly fed, and checked on regularly.

    If these cons aren’t scaring you then great! That means the pros of having a pet outweigh the cons. Having a pet is something that everyone should experience. Whether it is a parrot, an iguana, or a black cat. Having that friendship and that connection. It’s something special that you can’t really duplicate.

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