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Discover the Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

Some of the most prevalent content on social media consists of dogs. They are literally everywhere. This is hardly surprising. The large presence of social media content that relates to pets is reflective of the pet-obsessed culture in the United State. In fact, a majority of U.S. households have at least one pet. They’re fun to have around. Yet, many people don’t fully realize the connection between pets and mental health.

In fact, owning pets is wonderful not only for pets but also for their owners. In today’s challenging world, record numbers of people experience anxiety and depression. Pets can provide safe and unconditional love for their owners, which helps decrease stress.

Sometimes, however, mental health concerns can’t be alleviated entirely by our pets. That’s when it’s time to consider professional help. For more about mental health counseling services, call us today at 304.410.0082.

Mental Health Benefits of Owning Pets

Exactly what are the potential health benefits of living with mankind’s oldest companions? Research finds three key benefits:

  • Increases in oxytocin
  • A sense of security and comfort
  • Pet owners have an easier time expanding their social networks

Clearly, we live in a culture that is obsessed with pets. But our obsession with pets isn’t just a fad—it’s a benefit to our mental health. Research has shown that living with a pet can alleviate stress, ease anxiety and help with depression. There’s a reason that emotional service animals exist—we need them.

‍The Clear Connection Between Pets and Mental Health

There’s actually an entire field of study dedicated to the study of pets and mental health. Scientists in human-animal bond research have found that pet owners experience real, measurable health effects, such as an increase in oxytocin levels in the brain.

Oxytocin is a strong hormone that, when released, plays a role with increasing social interaction in humans. It also affects our ability to empathize, express generosity and sexual pleasure. Having a pet won’t only brighten your day but can also help you spread joy as well.

Life can be hectic, and for people with mental health issues, it can feel like they never catch a break. If you have anxiety, you’re always worrying. If you experience OCD, you’re always thinking. With depression, it may be challenging getting out of bed in the morning. These complex feelings are only augmented by the day-to-day grind we subject ourselves to. This is when pets are a welcome addition to our lives.

Pets = Security, Comfort

In our culture, pets offer a sense of security. Moreover, they bring a necessary sense of comfort that we can turn to after a long day.

Research has also shown that having a connection to a household pet can help people expand their social network. A study conducted by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute found that “pet owners were significantly more likely to get to know people in their neighborhood than non-pet owners.”

Given the evidence, it’s wise to think twice before you roll your eyes at the next tweet you see of an adorable puppy following its owner around the house. Our interactions with pets have positive impacts on our mental health.

Achieving Better Mental Health Through Harmony

As we know, pets and mental health are connected. While they can provide a very comforting presence in our lives, some mental health issues require a more formal and professional approach. Mental health treatment, such as that provided by Harmony, can help individuals address and cope with their mental health concerns.

Treatment at Harmony provides a safe and non-judgmental space for individuals to explore and understand their thoughts and feelings. It can also give them the tools to manage their mental health in a healthier way. Remember that mental health treatment can help individuals be better pet owners.

If you or a loved one is struggling with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health condition, seeking professional help is crucial. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support and take care of your mental well-being.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your mental health journey, click here to reach out to our team of empathetic, mental health care experts. For existing clients, please click here and find your office location to contact your office directly.