Love Your Pets? So Does Your Brain.
Pets light up our lives. Their fuzzy, colorful antics and warm companionship eases our hearts and minds alike. Pet owners have been saying this to anyone who would listen, but now science too has ample evidence that the bond between a human and their pet animal is indeed special, and have real and far-reaching benefits for the human brain.
February 20th is Love Your Pet Day, and we take this opportunity to tell you exactly how much you benefit from the presence of your animal friend, and give you a few more reasons to love them even more (if that is possible)!
Pets work wonder on our brain chemistry
Multiple studies have shown that spending time with and cuddling pets or even other animals release Oxytocin in your bloodstream, a neurotransmitter linked to bonding, maternal love, and affection. Oxytocin has the power to cause a plethora of physiological changes; it slows down heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and hinders the production of stress-causing hormones, giving you sense of profound calm, comfort and focus. Interactions with pets also boost levels of beta endorphins and dopamine. Beta endorphins help in soothing pain and dopamine is widely known as the reward hormone that brings in a rush of goodies like motivation, energy, and heightened focus. All of these neurotransmitters have a profound effect on your overall well-being.
Pets improve our interpersonal relationships
Having a pet or pets is not entirely different from having a baby. You are responsible for their well-being and safety and they look to you for protection, yet they do not share a verbal language with us in which to communicate. Multiple studies have shown this makes pet owners or pet lovers better at assessing social cues and emotional signals in other human beings, and improved ability to listen and provide support. An increased capacity for empathy naturally leads to better interpersonal relationships between your fellow humans.
Pets help a lot with Depression and Anxiety
With the plethora of feel good hormones that pets bring in your body, it is no wonder they make great companions when you are down. Petting dogs have been linked to reduced level of cortisol in blood. It clocks down our threat response system and reduces stress, thereby helping with Anxiety. Also, caring for another life gives people suffering from Depression a definite and actionable purpose, thereby improving focus, attention, executive functioning and many other areas that are affected in this illness.
Pets are good for our overall health
Having a pet means playing with them, walking them, or even if just chasing after them as they cook up some mischief. While you are concentrated on their adorable antics, your body is getting a much-needed dose of exercise; whether by running, walking, or just cleaning up after them. Whether you have an exercise regime planned or not, walking your pet will ensure you get an adequate amount. They help with regulating blood pressure, and have even been known to strengthen immune system in children.
Pets are amazing, there’s no two way about it. Now that you know how amazing they are for your brain and body health too, maybe show them a little extra love today? And those of you who are wondering whether to get a pet or not, maybe this will inspire you to take the decision. Happy Love Your Pet Day!