Dogs are incredible, and there is no doubt about it. There is so much that they are able to do and help us with, and we certainly don’t give them enough credit for their brilliance. You might also be interested to know that they can improve our mental health, offering their support and assistance when we need it the most. It is something that we should thank them for, and a job that they take upon themselves without asking – because to them, our needs are more important than their own.
#1 Oxytocin, Oxytocin, Oxytocin
Also known as the feel-good hormone, oxytocin is able to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, as well as lower your blood pressure and heart rate. It is released through the body when you pet your dog or interact with them, helping you to feel calmer and more peaceful in your mind. It is an essential hormone, and one that you need when you are feeling on edge and high strung.
#2 Giving You Structure
This is essential when you are struggling with your mental health, and you need to make sure that you are keeping your days as structured as possible or you could end up falling into complete disorganisation. Dogs love routine, and yours will make sure that you stick to one. After all, they need to be fed, watered, played with, let outside, and walked, so you will have to find a way to fit it into your day.
#3 Giving You Purpose
Mental health can leave you without a sense of purpose, and you might even wonder what the point in getting up and taking care of yourself is. When you have a dog, you need to get up every day so that you can care for them. They become your purpose, and as you heal, you will find other reasons to get out of bed too. Plus, successfully looking after your dog leaves you with a sense of validation and self-worth.
#4 Getting You Outside
As your dog needs to be walked, they will make sure that you get out of the house for a daily dose of exercise. The fresh air and movement can actually boost your mood, as well as offering a pleasant distraction from the things that are bothering you. It is an activity that is excellent for both your mental and physical health, and one that your dog will thank you for. It also makes for a great bonding experience for both of you, and gives you the chance to meet other dog walkers.
Hopefully, this has given you a better understanding of dogs, mental health, and the ways in which they can help you. If you found the subject an interesting one, you might be interested to know that there is a full and extensive article on it here. Dogs do so much for our minds, from giving us structure and unconditional love, to a whole sense of purpose and validation. They can make us feel happier just by looking at us, and that is a gift that few other creatures have.
About the Author
Will is a freelance writer, his blog can be seen here. If you are interested in more information on the benefits of dog ownership including health tips, buyer’s guides and gear reviews, then check out his guides over at Dogowner.co.uk
If you would like to write a blog post about your experiences of stigma or related issues, email firstname.lastname@example.org