Now that the world is in the middle of a pandemic, anxiety levels continue to rise as many of us deal with the health crisis in isolation. People have developed different ways to cope with stress, but one there is one thing that can help us deal with life’s rollercoaster of emotions - your dog.
Several studies have shown that taking care of pets can help alleviate symptoms of anxieties and stress. Pets have become so attuned to our needs that they can even sense human emotions and can interpret our words and how we say it. There’s a lot going on right now that might have caused you to feel emotionally drained, and here’s how your furry friend can help you get through the tunnel.
1. Increase movement
Dogs need to have an exercise routine to help them release energy. Most of the time, a good walk to the park, a jog around the block, or even an intense session of catching the ball can help them be calmer and well-adjusted. These physical activities not only benefit your dog, but you as the owner can also greatly benefit from an increase in movement. Regular exercise can help boost your mood and reduce anxiety, as your body releases endorphins, the hormone that is responsible for regulating emotions.
However, due to strict quarantine policies, walking your dog outside may pose a challenge. If your area still allows you to walk your dog, take advantage of it while practicing safety procedures such as physical distancing, proper cough etiquette, and washing your hands immediately after walking outside. You can also give your dog a quick bath before letting him inside the house.
2. Provide companionship
Having a pet can give a sense of companionship which in turn can lead to lower levels of anxiety and stress. Living with pets lessens the feeling of isolation that can trigger depression. Having a pet to be responsible for takes one’s mind away from negative thoughts, and the feeling of being needed can make one feel better about themselves.
3. Creating a routine
Dogs thrive on structure. Pet owners are encouraged to create a routine for their pets as regular feeding, playing, and bath times help dogs be more secured and calm. A routine can work for dog owners, too. When we organize our day, we lessen our anxiety over what could happen next. Furthermore, we become more productive, thus entertaining negative thoughts can be minimized.
4. Help with socialization
Having a dog immediately makes you part of a community. That sense of belonging can greatly help with one’s mental health. Making new friends can be a lot less nerve-racking with a dog in tow, as you and other dog owners bond over your love for your furry friends.
But socializing nowadays may not be as easy as it was before. There are other ways that you can still socialize with fellow dog owners. Perhaps you can join an online dog owners group, or try to schedule a fun Zoom meeting with your friends and their dogs. Posting videos and photos of your dog online can also spread some doggy love to others.
5. Give lots of love
Do you know that just by simply petting your dog can help you feel calmer and at ease? That is because stroking a pet can lower blood pressure and anxiety. In addition to these physical benefits, petting a pet has also been linked to higher levels of oxytocin, or the “love hormone”. Dogs have also been proven to be loyal to their humans and show affection more plainly than humans. That connection lessens tension and creates a sense of joy among pets and their owners.
Dogs are man’s best friend. This age-old adage has been proven so many times throughout history and continues to be true nowadays. With almost half of the world on strict lockdown policies, dogs remain as man’s source of hope and positivity.