When I walk around and see pets who help those with physical, learning, and other health difficulties, I think to myself “Wow, animals are so amazing. They help so many people with everyday tasks that others may take for granted”. What we don’t see is the impact animals have on our mental health. Whether it be a dog, cat, bird, or even a fish, our pets have a huge impact on the way we live and feel. They have a way of providing companionship, easing loneliness, and showering us with unconditional love. There have been many studies done that have proven interacting with animals lowers our blood pressure, slows our heart rate, eases muscle tension, and helps our breathing become more regular. I have seen the impact animals have on mental health in my personal life. I suffer every day from anxiety which includes mental and physical challenges. Coming to work every day and being able to be around different animals and then going home to my own three dogs brings me back to a neutral state and provides me with happiness that I personally do not get anywhere else.
The current pandemic has severely impacted many people and their mental health. It has caused a large amount of people to become more fearful, isolated, and unsure of the future. Having a pet or being able to interact with animals of any kind can help keep us in the moment and calm our minds even if it is only for a split moment while we are giving our pet a pat on the head. I wanted to mention the pandemic in this post as it is such a large part of our lives at this moment, but for the purpose of the blog I do not want to focus on it. I want to keep this post positive and keep the focus on how amazing animals are and the great job they can do with keeping us in a good place.
I could go on and on about all of the different studies that have been done that show statistics that prove animals have a positive impact on our mental health but I won’t bore you with all those numbers. What I want this post to do is to help you become more aware of the impact our pets have on us and help you become more mindful when you’re taking care of your pet or even petting someone else’s dog while walking down the street. The next time you’re petting your cat or taking your dog on their daily walk, make note on how you are feeling at that moment and then just enjoy the time with your pet. If our pets can teach us anything, let it be the lesson of living in the moment, whether that be the excitement that comes from the smallest treat or thinking that going for a walk around the block is the best part of the day. We don’t get forever with our pets so allow them to show you unconditional love and make you feel happy even if it is only for a moment.