mental health Paisley Hansen

How Your Pet Can Give Your Mental Health a Boost

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If you’re a pet owner, you probably already know that snuggling with your pet after a rough day can provide a great deal of comfort. Actually, though, there are many ways in which having a pet can give your mental health a much-needed boost. Read on to learn about a few.

Unconditional Love

First, focus on the unconditional love your pet provides. Your dog or cat doesn’t care if you feel like a failure or a success. Your pet loves you for who you are all the time and is ready to snuggle up and give you plenty of love. This can make a big difference in your mental health. Just stroking a pet can calm you down, lower your heart rate and blood pressure and give you a sense of balance. When your pet runs to meet you at the door and then cuddles up on your lap, it simply makes you feel good, and for a while the stress of the day can fade just a little bit.

Responsibility

Having a pet also helps you accept responsibility, and this too can provide a mental health boost. Mental toughness programs like 75 Hard focus on guiding you to take charge of your life. Your pet can help you get started on this, too. You must think about someone other than yourself.

Your pet depends on you. You must provide food, attention and care continually. Whether you feel like getting up and moving or not, your dog still needs to have a walk, and your cat prefers a clean litter box. You need to make sure your pet’s food and water dishes are clean and full and your pet is bathed and/or groomed. This is your responsibility, and claiming that gives you a sense of purpose. It can draw you out of your slump and get you moving.

Focus on Another

Indeed, your pet shifts your focus away from your problems and draws you out of yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in your troubles and struggles and begin to feel hopeless, but this self-centered attitude will get you nowhere but depressed. Sometimes the best thing to do is let yourself and your worries slide into the background and concentrate on your pet. Unlike many humans, your pet will always be there to receive your attention and love and give it back. Just think of your dog looking up at you adoringly with those big eyes or your cat winding around your legs. You can’t help but smile.

Physical Activity

Your pet also encourages you to be more physically active, which in turn can boost your mental health. You might go for nice, long walks with your dog or throw around a ball in the yard. Your cat would appreciate a play session, too, perhaps with a wand toy or laser light. Some cats may even enjoy a bit of wrestling. Just watch out for those claws!

Lots of Fun

Finally, pets can simply be a lot of fun, and they almost certainly will make you laugh. Watching your cat chase a toy or your dog jump around with its tongue hanging out is simply enjoyable. Most pets are always doing crazy things. Let yourself enjoy the show. Laughter is often the best medicine for a stressful day or a bout of depression.

If there are days, then, in which you feel your mental health falling down around you, don’t hesitate to turn to your pet for comfort. Your pet will offer plenty of love but will also demand that you take responsibility. Your pet will draw your focus away from yourself, provide physical activity and most of all, offer a sense of fun and a reason to smile. This in itself may give you the mental health boost you need.

Paisley Hansen
Author: Paisley Hansen

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