When you’re suffering from depression, it can be very hard to lift yourself out and you often feel like you’re drowning in a deep, dark hole. People suffer from depression for many reasons, some of which are not even known and it can be a very complex time in their lives.
While the cures for depression usually involve medication, many patients are turning to their pets for added support during such a tough time and there is more and more evidence to suggest that pets help depression. Having a pet is a joyful part of your life, and for people with depression, it can be a great aid to help them get better and start to enjoy life again.
Pets offer a lovely companionship that can fill a void for you. Capable of empathy and support that sometimes humans can’t offer, pets are a comfort that can really help you recover your happiness. Pets also offer a soothing presence that can help calm you during stressful situations. They have been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate and are also used for patients recovering from heart attacks.
Pets have no judgement; they love you unconditionally – and it’s this unconditional love that can really help those suffering from depression. When pets show their love for you with no questions asked, it can make you feel far less lonely, especially if your human support system isn’t showing the same affection.
Having a pet promotes responsibility and having a living creature to look after is good for self esteem, independency and building structure into your day. Staying in bed until noon isn’t an option if you have a cat meowing for their breakfast or a dog barking for a walk.
Touch is known to be a great healer and having a soft pet to touch like a dog, cat or rabbit can increase your dopamine and serotonin levels, making you feel happier. Not only that, paying attention to our pet by playing with them, patting them or watching them do something can take our minds off reality for a bit and give you something to be proud of.
Dogs are active pets, needing exercise to keep them healthy. This is great for those suffering from depression as exercise has been found to reduce the symptoms of depression, and what better way to exercise than to take your best friend for a walk.
So next time you’re feeling down, reach for your furry friend and have a cuddle; it’s sure to make you feel better.
Images via women9.com and thelimewalk.blogspot.com