By: Amber Kingsley.
September 4th, 2015
There have been many happy endings for people who have the need for companion canines; even cats can have their healing qualities. According to the National Center For Health Research, statistics show those people with pets live longer, healthier lives. They have stronger heart rates, take less sick days, make fewer visits to the doctor, get more exercise, are less depressed and anxious compared to their counterparts who don’t own cats or canines.
Research also suggests that pets also have a significant impact on helping to prevent allergies, especially for children. They also help growing humans to develop better social skills, support systems and engage with other people on a more meaningful level.
The Huffington Post published an article listing over a dozen ways that animals enrich our lives and suggest that by taking care of them, feeding and playing with them, you’re also taking better care of yourself. For example, if you have a dog, most people will walk them at least once a day, therefore their masters are getting a little more exercise themselves. In fact, a Canadian study found that dog owners were more likely to participate in more moderate physical activity than those who didn’t own a dog.
The Psychology Behind the Wagging Tail and the Purring
As most animal lovers are aware, nothing beats that feeling of coming home after a long, hard day and finding their dog overjoyed to see us and happily wagging its tail with excitement. For cat lovers, curling up with our kitty on the couch and feeling their gentle purr can be very relaxing for both of us. There’s some psychology behind these behaviors that point to a number of ways that pets also benefit us emotionally and mentally.
It was found that pet owners exhibit greater self-esteem, are less lonely, more conscientious, socially outgoing, and have healthier relationship styles (less fearful and preoccupied) than non-pet owners. They also report receiving just as much support from their animals as they did from friends and family members, some of them claiming to be closer to their pets than they were to other people. Not that pet lovers turn to their animals because their human social support is poor, but rather they seem to extend their general need for companionship to their pets as well.
The Huffington Post’s list of positive pet owner experiences also points to research that shows the presence of an animal actually lowers blood pressure and decreases stress. Karen Walker, a psychology professor at the University of Buffalo wired a number of volunteers to monitors and asked them to perform difficult maneuvers. Her results showed human’s blood pressure levels and responses to stressful stimuli were both greatly reduced when there was a dog present in the room.
Whether our four-legged friends are stopping us from feeling lonely or allow us to enjoy the simple life, they make excellent companions and friends. Not only do they make us happier, they will help us live a longer and less stressful live.