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How pets can help you to de-stress at home

Dogs are hands down the most popular pets in the whole country. With good reason too. These fluffy companions are available in so many breeds, and have so many different personalities that there’s really something for everyone. Added to this, dogs are emerging as a sort of mental health silver bullet, with new research coming out every day that is proving that they are incredibly useful as treatment aid for those with a whole range of mental illnesses. 

One of the conditions that has shown a lot of promise in treatment by animals is anxiety. Animals seem to be an amazing aid in assisting anxiety sufferers in coping with their condition, and even improving it. In this article, we explore how having a dog can help to improve your anxiety, and combat anxious tendencies.

Anxiety and Its Effects

Anxiety disorders come in many different forms, making it one of the most common mental illnesses in the country. However most see the same general effects, which can range in severity from mild to debilitating, affecting the lives of those living with it. Probably the most commonly diagnosed and seen form of anxiety in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This illness is characterized by constant worry out of proportion to circumstances, restlessness and trouble with concentration. Some other forms of anxiety disorder include: 

  • Panic disorder and panic attacks

  • Agoraphobia

  • Social anxiety disorder

  • Selective mutism

  • Separation anxiety

  • Specific phobias

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 

Anxiety is thought to be caused by a whole range of factors, including: 

  • Stress at work

  • Stress from school

  • Stress in a personal relationship such as marriage

  • Financial stress

  • Stress from an emotional trauma such as the death of a loved one

  • Stress from a serious medical illness

  • Side effect of medication

  • Use of an illicit drug, such as cocaine

  • Symptom of a medical illness (such as heart attack, heat stroke, hypoglycemia)

While anxiety is not a mental health illness that usually causes death, it can be a highly uncomfortable disorder to live with without treatment or medication.

The Benefits of Pet Ownership for Those with Anxiety

Owning a pet, and in particular, owning a dog is an excellent choice for keeping anxiety at bay. There are many facets of pet ownership, both physical and psychological, that are incredibly helpful for sufferers. 

Provides Distraction and Focus

Anxiety is characterized compulsive worry and negative thoughts. The distraction that keeping a dog provides is incredibly useful and can assist in keeping these thoughts in check. The focus needed to care for a dog and meet its needs can also assist in quieting anxious thoughts.

A Source of Security and Companionship

Dogs are known for being protectors of humans, which can help their owners to feel protected and therefore less anxious in day to day situations. They are also always there to provide companionship to a person who may feel isolated from others due to their anxiety.

Makes for a Healthier Brain

Your brain on dogs is simply better. Time spent with canine friends helps to promote feel good chemicals, and lower stress hormones, making your brain better able to cope with anxiety.

Helps You Stick to a Routine

A strict routine is required to keep a dog happy and healthy, and this can help to chase away anxiety. With a known routine, an owner with anxiety may feel calmer and more relaxed in their daily lives. 

Having a dog has a whole host of amazing benefits for mental health, including reducing behaviors related to anxiety and symptoms which can assist their owners. Owning a pet has been shown to be one of the most successful natural remedies to helping owners deal with and even lessen their anxiety due to their effects on behavior and within the brain. If you’ve been suffering from anxiety, and aren’t sure how to treat it, it could be a lifesaving decision to invite a pet into your home. CertaPet.com is a great resource to learn more!

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