EXCLUSIVE: Here’s how pets help you achieve better mental health

Updated on Aug 28, 2021 09:47 AM IST  |  124K
   
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s how pets help you achieve better mental health
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s how pets help you achieve better mental health
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Most people are unaware of the benefits that pets provide. These furry four-legged are loyal companions and have the ability to add joy and unconditional love to a person’s life. Throughout the pandemic, people have been adopting pets and taking care of those abandoned or in need. Parenting a pet facilitates physical and mental well-being.

 

The roles were later reversed to the extent that most people started benefiting from adopting pets as they saw an improvement in their own health. Moving around or engaging in certain activities with pets helps pet parents develop their own skills and boost their mood. 

 

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Check out some ways in which pets help achieve better mental health:

 

Social Icebreaker:

 

Pets may help impact relationships within society and create a kind of connectedness among the people around. Taking care of them indirectly helps in developing the social skills of people. Pets usually love to run or walk in open spaces and require some activity for their growth and development. For this purpose, most pet parents take their furry companions outside and may encounter many pet fans. Pets too, love to interact with people who greet them with immense fondness and admiration. Pet ownership helps develop and improve such social networking skills especially if pets have their routine play or walk time in the society. Running around with other pets, small kids or getting all the love from other parents, pets are considered as the most lovable furry animals. Furthermore, having pets around helps in making new friends easily and strike conversations without any hesitation. This is common especially if there are more pet parents around. This relationship between owners and non-owners further helps to boost friendliness, helpfulness and trust among each other living in the same vicinity. Interacting with people helps in boosting mental well-being and reduces loneliness.

 

Impacts a child’s well-being:

 

Pets play a crucial role in the development of children and prove to be their best friends. They help them socialise and teach them to nurture and care for others. Pets are considered valuable for all, but most for single children who may not have siblings residing with them. Children, at a young age, learn to play with pets which further helps in their daily exercising and increases movement. Additionally, owning a pet in a family makes children more responsible about their pets and family members and helps them understand and value relationships. Furthermore, interacting with furry companions help reduce stress, anxiety or depression. It encourages exercising through constant pet playfulness and removes loneliness during such trying times of the pandemic.

 

Develops a child’s self-esteem:

 

Growing up with pets can be of great help for children other than just improving their mental well-being. Pets bring social and educational benefits too. Children with pets may exhibit greater self-esteem and tend to have a positive self-image and more self-confidence, which ultimately makes them happier. Moreover, pets enhance social skills in children as well. Non-verbal communication with pets helps kids become more empathetic and compassionate towards relationships.

 

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Well-being of senior citizens:

 

While adults and children are comparatively more active as compared to senior citizens, pets are considered to have a positive impact on the elder generation as well. Furry companions help senior citizens deal with the loneliness that often afflicts them. This is especially if they have lost their partners and are living alone. Pets help heal the grief and bring unconditional love to them. Considering most elderly people have lower activity levels as compared to the younger generation, due to reduced motor skills, pets help boost this activity level even if it is a mere game of fetch as it allows some movement among them. Pet ownership among the older generation has been a contributing factor to improved health outcomes and fighting diseases such as dementia. There are reduced levels of heart attacks and improved cardiovascular health. It also reduces the number of doctor visits for their own health, and they are less likely to be on any kind of medication. They tend to not only give but also receive affection from pets and feel less isolated than usual.

 

To sum it up, living or having pets at home brings therapeutic value to all. It helps in releasing the happy hormone in the brain and body and helps in the development of humans as well. They teach you life lessons in more than one way. They provide comfort and affection and, in most cases, provide a structure and routine to life. They teach you to care, nurture, protect, love, and be indifferent to others irrespective of gender, colour, age, or any background. It teaches to be more responsible, adjusting, compassionate and value every relation along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The human-animal bond may not be expressed better in words than felt personally. Every pet parent may have a different experience and memory with their pets. Over time, pets become a child or a member of the family rather than a mere four-legged animal. They eventually start to understand the language, gestures, tone of voice and in some cases the emotional state their parents may be in. They learn to wait for their parents to return home, get accustomed to training, behaviors, and other such cues. In some households, the needs of a kid or a partner are taken care of by the presence of these furry blessings!

 

About the author: Ganesh Ramani, General Manager, MARS Petcare India

 

Also Read: How has the second wave impacted children’s mental health? An expert opines

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