Image by Arca Coop via Flickr
Pets are more than those four-legged furry critters that curl up in your lap while you watch television or sleep religiously at the foot of the bed. They are family. By caring for your pet, you open yourself to a unique relationship for years to come. You also open yourself to a list of benefits to your well-being. Here are three ways your pet makes life better.
They boost your mood. When you come home from a stressful day, you can always count on your animal companion to be happy to see you. After spending a few minutes petting them, the day begins to melt. Studies show that 15-20 minutes of cuddling your pet greatly shifts your mood to the positive. Watching fish swim gives the same effect.
They calm your body. Cortisol is a hormone the body makes in times of stress. Spending quality time with your pet lowers levels of cortisol, while increasing serotonin, helping you feel calm and relaxed. The Center for Disease Control found that people with dogs have lower blood pressure. The same with those who adopt a cat. Over time, high blood pressure damages arteries, bringing on harmful conditions such as atherosclerosis and even a stroke.
They help you heal. Pet owners are less likely to be depressed. Elderly Alzheimer’s patients have fewer episodes when a pet is around. Heart patients with pets heal quicker than those who don’t have a pet. Pet therapy shows that patients who receive a visit from an animal while in the hospital experience measurable psychological benefits.