There are many benefits to having animals in your life. Pets are good for your health. They provide unconditional love, companionship, and reduce stress levels. Pets can also improve your physical health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease. In fact, studies have shown that owning a pet can add years to your life.
Searching for ways to keep your aging brain active and spry? Want to deliver a burst of brain-building benefits for your kids to learn from that will serve them well into adulthood? Caring for a pet is a great way to nourish and enrich your mind. Animals are good for your health.
Positive Effects of Pets
The positive effects of keeping and caring for a pet on brain health are vast. Here are some ways we can feed our minds as we nurture our animal friends.
Routine and Schedule helps us thrive
Taking care of pets helps our brains adapt to a routine and schedule. Child development experts know that children thrive on routine and repetition. If you’re in search of a brain-boosting activity to help your kids become more responsible and increase self-confidence, having their own pet is a great option. Daily feeding schedules, walks, potty breaks, and playtime all play their part in helping kids feel secure, as well as giving them a purpose that has a hugely positive impact on self-esteem.
Unconditional love between you and your pet is good for your heart
Caring for pets lowers cortisol and increases oxytocin. In giving and receiving love with our furry and feathered friends, we boost feel-good chemicals and lower stress hormones, all of which help to calm our minds and put our bodies into a restful state. Lowered cortisol helps our brains function to full capacity because we are no longer stuck in “fight or flight” mode. Studies have shown that spending even just a few minutes petting and talking to pets brings blood pressure down.
Nonverbal Communication sharpens the mind
Nonverbal communication with pets sharpens our minds. Some people are better at receiving subtle cues through body language than others. If you’d like to hone the observational part of your brain that speaks “nonverbal,” a great way to do this is by paying attention to your dog or cat and how your pet conveys his or her emotions and needs. We know that a wagging tail generally has a positive connotation. But what about a lashing tail, a quivering tail, a drooping tail, or a tucked tail? There is much for your brain to master by keeping a watchful eye on your pet’s body and the ways they communicate without words.
Pets give emotional support
Caring for pets has a positive effect on our mental health. Pets companions are frequently used in therapy programs to help children deal with their emotions. It is known that having a pet can help alleviate depression thanks to the positive brain chemistry associated with giving and receiving love. Special programs have been created to pair up animals in need of nurturing with incarcerated and transitioning individuals who are on the path to self-healing. Sharing affection with, caring for, feeding, talking to, and being loving toward animals all have a positive effect on our brains.
The effects of pet ownership on our brains and bodies are numerous, ranging from lower blood pressure to reduced anxiety. It is also known that people who own pets have a longer life expectancy than those that don’t.
In short, pets need us, and we need them. This is a relationship that also happens to be very good for our mental health!