If you are dealing with mental health problems, you may be skeptical over the idea of adopting a pet. You can barely handle yourself; how are you going to handle taking care of a dog or a cat? However, what many do not realize is that pets make for great tools in the fight against mental health problems. Here are just some of the reasons why.
It Gets You in a Routine
If you have depression, one way to treat it is to get in a routine. Your schedule doesn’t need to be strict or around the clock, but having some form of a schedule is good for you in the long run. Having a pet is a responsibility, even if you get a low maintenance animal. A cat requires you to clean out their litter box and feed them every day. With a dog, you have to do a whole lot more.
It Makes for a Good Exercise Buddy
Exercise is one way you can improve your mental health. Those feel-good chemicals in the brain that are released when you move your body is a good way to fight mental illness. However, many people who have mental illnesses do not feel motivated to work out.
If you have a dog, you can walk them every day, or even go on a run with them. This gives you some incentive to get out more. Even if you just take a walk, it can help.
Cats are the Purrfect Companions
Besides being low maintenance, a cat can help reduce your stress by quite a bit. This is because their purrs may have some healing properties. They aren’t magic, but touching a purring cat may lower your stress and reduce the risk of heart attack. Plus, it’s just a calming noise. Purring has many uses, and one of those uses is to show contentment. Some of that contentment can rub on you.
Petting in General Lowers Stress
You don’t have to have a purring cat to feel better. Sometimes, all you need is just an animal you can pet. Petting or grooming an animal can make you feel at ease.
They Can Treat Loneliness
Sometimes, your mental health is poor because you are lonely. One way to fix that is by having a pet. A pet can be a good substitute for living alone. While it’s not the most perfect substitute to human interaction, venting to your dog and cat can definitely feel therapeutic.
They Give Your Life Some Purpose
One cause of poor mental health is the belief that life is meaningless. However, life does not need to have some kind of deep meaning in order for it to have meaning. Sometimes, owning a pet can be the perfect reason for living. Taking care of an animal can make you feel accomplished and ready to take on other parts of your life.
Service Animals Are Great
Service animals are good for when you have a debilitating mental illness. If you have an episode, a service animal can treat you or get help if needed. If your mental illness is severe, look into getting one. You can bring them into most establishments, so they will never leave your side.
A pet is not the perfect mental health treatment. If you have a problem, counseling and other forms of therapy are still the best way to handle it. However, owning a pet can be a great additional tool to help win the fight for great mental health. If you can take on the responsibility, look into adopting a friend today.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.