Hi Peace Family! It’s Jami Mayberry. It’s true! Research suggests that having a pet truly is good for your physical and mental health. “Pets often provide unconditional acceptance and love and they’re always there for you,” said Dr. Gary A. Christenson, chief medical officer at Boynton Health Service at the University of Minnesota. “There is a bond and companionship that makes a big difference in mental health.” Not to mention the extra exercise you get from walks and playtime. There are many ways your pet can boost your health.
Pets can lower cholesterol by keeping you active. They can also help relieve stress. Rebecca A. Johnson, director of the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, says just looking at our pets can release oxytocin, which can bring feelings of happiness. That decreases the stress hormone cortisol. And pets also help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “One veteran couldn’t leave his house without his wife until we placed a dog with him and in less than a week he was able to go around his town.”
Petting your animal actually can bring down your blood pressure. And your pet gets some much wanted affection. It’s a win-win situation. In some cases, people’s blood pressure response to stress was cut in half. And a dog is the best companion for a walk. Johnson-co-author of the book “Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound” found that dog walkers improved their fitness more than people who walked with other people. So lowering cholesterol, stress, and blood pressure levels combined with increased fitness may add up to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Pets also can provide social support for their owners. A large review of studies by the British Psychological Society found that dogs especially promote therapeutic and psychological well being. They boost self-esteem, and feelings of autonomy and competence. Pets have a calming presence and the social bond that pets bring can be very powerful. They give us something to focus on instead of the negative thoughts a depressed person is prone to have. When a pet pays attention to you, they’re giving you unconditional love and acceptance. It’s a small glimpse of God’s love while we are here on earth.
If you can’t have a pet right now I urge you to volunteer at an animal shelter and work with the animals. Just feeding and walking them will make you smile, and it will be so appreciated by the lonely animals. It is so worth your time! So here’s to better health through the love and care of pets! You can find out more on the subject at Health.com Wishing you PEACE today!