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How Pets Improve Mental Health

Having pets improves the quality of our mental health in so many wonderful and meaningful ways. They teach us valuable lessons about companionship and how to live your best life. They have the ability to alleviate anxiety, depression, loneliness, and encourage you to get exercise.

The therapeutic effect that pets have on humans is amazing. This stems from our need for touch. Petting, cuddling, and hugging your pet while experiencing reciprocal love from them boosts your mood and eases depression and loneliness. This companionship boosts your mental health because you have an animal that you love to take care of, allowing you to think of something other than your problems.

Having a pet also reduces anxiety, not only because you have a companion, but because they can teach you so much about living in the moment. When I look over at my cat, she is usually napping, staring out the window, eating, or playing with her toys. She rarely seems bored, just content to do what she wants to do as the world moves around her. This is how we should be living our lives. Our pets can teach us so many wonderful things about being mindful and staying in the present.

In addition, cats and dogs thrive on routine. They need to be fed and watered at a certain time, and they need their regular exercise, all things you as their owner provide for them. Being on a consistent routine with your pet helps boost your mental health because you have no choice but to overcome the voice that wants you to stay in bed all day because of your anxiety or depression. This gives you a sense of purpose–you have this ability to merge with the animal and create a bond with each other like none other.

If you are having problems finding meaning and joy in your life, I urge you to stop at your local animal shelter and find yourself a friend. You need them as much as they need you, and you will see that because of your pets, mental health soars in ways you never knew possible.


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Alli is our office manager and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University, just recently moved to St. Pete and is enjoying paradise. Her interests include painting, history, and learning about other people.

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