Psychological Benefits of Small Pets
We live in a world where hustle and stress are typical daily for most individuals. Life can become overwhelming, and we need extra support. Obviously, humans can be excellent at providing comfort and companionship. Still, we sometimes overlook how much peace and joy pets can bring us. Whether it’s a rabbit, guinea pig, or maybe an enchanting bird for some, these adorable little animals have remarkable psychological benefits for us humans. These are some of the ways they help us.
1: Reduce Stress
Life can become super demanding, and sometimes nothing seems to go our way. Elevated stress can impact our physical and emotional state. Small animals are gentle and sweet; they only need love and care to be happy. They induce relaxation just by interacting with them. Studies have claimed that observing and playing with an animal decreases blood pressure and lowers cortisol levels and stress hormones, removing any feelings of panic.
2: Combats Loneliness
When we must face complex challenges, isolating ourselves to cope can happen. Being alone can negatively impact our mental health. Small animals offer comfort that fights that feeling of seclusion. A pet knows its owner and can often sense when something is off. They may not have much to stay, but talking to them while we process our feelings is cathartic. Pets love us unconditionally and are nonjudgmental in nature. Feeding and caring for them establishes a routine and a sense of responsibility, which makes them happy. Seeing that increasing serotonin and dopamine regulate our mood back to normal. Individuals fighting depression and loneliness will find incredible relief having a pet as their 24/7 companion.
3: Mindfulness and Increased Oxytocin Levels
Practicing mindfulness involves focusing on the present. Animal’s carefree behaviors, small animals captivate our minds to become self-aware of how we feel now. When we bond with our animals, all that stress leaves. Animals ground and help us appreciate the time we are given to relax. Oxytocin, the “love hormone,” is released when we connect with animals by cuddling and petting them. This chemical gets released into the animal and us.
4: Positively Impacts Children’s Mental Health
Children experience a lot of change during their development. They go through mental, physical, and situational changes throughout their childhood. With that, some may share and do struggle with hardships. The relationship between a child and an animal is a precious thing. Pets provide outstanding mental benefits to children who may experience trauma, such as PTSD, and other mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression. From taking a role in caring for the animal, they learn how to be more empathetic and care for their own emotional well-being. Having an animal as a friend helps children become more confident and feel like they have a sense of purpose when they care for the pet. Just like anyone else, playing with an animal reduces a child’s stress. It helps them build a bond, encouraging them to interact socially with other children.