How Emotional Support Animals Help People with Anxiety and Depression

woman kissing dog

Millions of people own dogs or cats. Many people have a variety of pets: fish, reptiles, birds, and other animals. Even exotic animals are now kept as pets. Pets are important to a lot of people. But why do people get pets? What makes owning a pet special?

Pets play an extraordinary role in our lives, especially for those struggling with anxiety and depression. They are more than just “pets.” They are treated like family by most people. These animals are a source of comfort and emotional support. A lot of people find comfort in animals more than other people. And there’s plenty of positive outcomes at owning an animal. 

Some animals are trained to become emotional support animals. These animals undergo a lot of training to be able to handle different circumstances with their owner. They provide help and companionship to those people dealing with emotional problems and disabilities.

This article will discuss why pets are so important and how emotional support animals can help people overcome anxiety and depression.

1. Boost in Physical Health

Physical health also affects the emotional health of a person. So, it is also as important as mental health to take good care of your physical health. Different studies from Harvard University have shown that a simple petting of a dog can decrease your blood pressure. And owning a dog correlate to lower triglyceride level. 

Owning a dog also increases your physical activity by taking your dog for a walk or jog, playing with your dog in the park, hiking, and other physical activities. These activities increase endorphins, a hormone that is responsible for feeling good. 

These health measures lessen stress in your physical environment while improving your physical health. By improving your physical health, you are also improving your mental health, lowering your depressive symptoms and anxiety.

2. An Increased sense of purpose and meaning

Depression and anxiety affect the way people socialize. Because depression and anxiety cause feelings of detachment from other people, you feel like you have less purpose. Therefore, it makes many people feel lonely, causing them to think of doing something terrible to themselves. 

Having an emotional support animal like a dog or a cat can make a huge difference in your situation. Pets make you feel less lonely, as they give you unconditional love. They provide a lot of purpose to your life, as they rely on you for food, shelter, and their essentials. They can’t live without you.

In addition, emotional support animals are also helping grieving people. With their companionship, anyone can overcome the loneliness caused by losing a loved one. 

dog and a cat cuddling

3. Offers a healthy and safe companionship

As we said earlier, suffering from anxiety and depression dramatically affects the way you socialize. Yes, some can hide their feelings by socializing and laughing every time. But some people with such illnesses struggle in socializing.

Having an emotional support animal can create loving and genuine companionship. These animals will love you unconditionally. They will never betray you and will never leave you. They will always be by your side as you take good care of them. 

You don’t even need to fake your acts as we sometimes do in front of other people. You can be yourself around them without having a fear of judgment. They will love you unconditionally.

4. Boosts your self-esteem and lessens anxiety

People who suffer from depression and anxiety are experiencing low self-esteem and often suffer from anxiety. Having an emotional support animal can boost these factors and improve your quality of life. 

A research study conducted at Miami University shows that people who own a pet have higher self-esteem and lower levels of fear than those who do not own a pet. Thus, emotional support animals can decrease symptoms of depression and improve the overall quality of a person.

5. Lowers the feeling of isolation

Depression and anxiety cause isolation in most who suffers from them. Owning a pet can help lower this factor. When you own a dog, it is necessary to walk them from time to time, forcing you to go outside and be with other people. And sometimes, you can’t avoid some people wanting to pet your dog or asking you questions about your pet. You also need to go to the vet for your pet’s health care.

These moments require you to get out of your house or your comfort area. Which then improves your interaction with the community and lessens social isolation, and reduces depression.

Emotional support animals can give you a lot of benefits, especially to those who suffer from anxiety and depression. They are a key to a higher quality of health and life. Apart from love and companionship, emotional support animals help you find a purpose in life, encouraging you to always look at the brighter side despite life circumstances.

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