It is hard to be stressed when a purring cat crawls into your lap, or the wet nose of a dog nudges your hand.Studies have demonstrated a lower level of cortisol (the stress hormone associated with anxiety and depression) in pet owners and an increase in dopamine (a chemical associated with positive feelings) after just five minutes with a pet.
Pet ownership has powerful mental health benefits through their unconditional love and companionship. But it’s not just our furry friends who are good for our health – even fish help with stress. Studies have shown that watching fish in an aquarium can be a powerful relaxant.
The physical benefits of pet ownership are well established. Dog owners are more active than their pet-free counterparts, and taking time out to walk and exercise with pets; or even patting a dog has been shown to reduce blood pressure.
So in moments of stress or after a long day, spend some time with your cat or take a walk with your dog. You could even walk your neighbour’s dog if they don’t get out so often. Or maybe set up an aquarium for your viewing pleasure.
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