6 Ways Dogs Give You Love & Emotional Support
Are you missing that emotional support & care in your life? Read to know how a dog can make you feel loved
Aristotle the legendary Greek philosopher said, "Man is by nature a social animal.” Without social interaction, social animals, like human beings, might experience distress and face severe developmental consequences. Various studies have shown that dogs are social creatures, so the partnership between man and dogs was inevitable.
This makes dogs the perfect companion for us; the perfect provider of emotional support.
The December 2019 COVID-19 epidemic led to many countries implementing a complete lockdown and consequently leading to people being quarantined in their houses. Most reviewed studies reported negative psychological effects including post-traumatic stress symptoms, confusion, and anger. Stressors included longer quarantine duration, infection fears, frustration, boredom, inadequate supplies, inadequate information, financial loss, and stigma. During this time, various celebrities including Selena Gomez, Billie Eilish, and Colton Underwood adopted and brought in dogs into their home. This allowed them to have somebody to look after and spend time with and emotionally support them. Surveys have shown that most houses in the United States- an estimated 68%-have at least one pet.
Here are the 6 ways through which these lovable pets help us improve our emotional well-being and be more alive
1. Dogs can sense how you feel
Studies have shown that dogs can detect smells and read body postures that may help them understand when a person is nervous, anxious, or afraid. This means that they can sense what you're feeling before you need to say it. Not only do they show empathy to you but also try to make you feel better using various gestures like rolling over and licking our feet. Imagine what it feels like to be consoled by such a cute creature !!!
This is the reason why dogs are most commonly used in Animal-Assisted Therapy. AAT allows therapists to use one treatment tool, an animal, that provides a sense of calm, comfort, emotional support, or safety and divert attention away from a stressful situation and towards one that provides pleasure. It's no wonder why dogs are called a Man’s best friend. Through thick and thin, your dog is there to give you unconditional love.
2. They help you build a healthy lifestyle
Pets, especially dogs, require exercise, which means that you’ll be exercising right along with them! Physical exercise increases endorphins, which plays a role in our overall well being by warding off pain and perpetuating pleasure, helping fight depression. Your dog will be a motivation for your early morning walk and will make sure you don’t skip it otherwise you may need to spend a little more time cleaning your floor !!
Dogs need to be fed at regular intervals and this will help you organize your day no matter how lazy you are. You will have a strong reason to get out of your bed and leave your laziness as a cute puppy might be waiting for you to come and feed it.
3. Dogs help you build your self-esteem
Who won’t feel special after having a grand welcome by his dog just when he enters his home?
Not only do they provide you emotional support with their love and care but they also give you a chance to show your affection towards them. Having a pet as a companion gives us someone to take care of and look after. Caring for an animal gives you purpose, makes you feel wanted and helps take focus away from your depression.
Research has shown that taking care of a pet and having someone dependent on you, builds self-esteem. It helps you reassure that you can take care of another creature and yourself. Research has proven that touch increases oxytocin level and reduces cortisol, the stress-related hormone. This is the reason why petting or stroking your pet helps in improving your mood and makes you feel relaxed.
4. You will never feel lonely
Loyalty is also just a natural behavior for dogs. If depression makes you feel lonely, pets can help you break the cycle by reminding you that you are not alone. Pets offer unconditional love, which can be extraordinarily soothing when feeling isolated. They stay right beside you, offering you comfort and love; reminding you that you are not alone and that things are not so bad. Depression might make you want to avoid other people, but pets can open up your world. It is said that a dog is the only thing in the world that loves you more than it loves itself and that is why it is the ideal form of emotional support for us.
5. No more social anxiety
You must have seen dog owners interacting with each other during their daily morning walks? Just having a pet and taking care of it can give numerous reasons to start a conversation and even build long term friendships.
A recent study by researchers from the University of Western Australia showed that “Pet owners were 60% more likely than non–pet owners to get to know people in their neighborhoods they hadn’t known before.”
6. A wider smile on your face with their unconditional Love
Do you know what unconditional Love is? When someone waits for you to come home the entire day and greets you with that same excitement every day. Dogs offer you this unconditional love.
No matter how many times you fail in life, no matter what the society thinks of you, they never judge you, they just are by your side loving you, giving you immense emotional support and being loyal to you their entire life.
A 2016 study at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom involved 54 participants, all diagnosed with severe mental illnesses, such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder. 60% of the participants kept pets to emotionally and mentally support them and about half of the participants said that pets helped them manage their illness and everyday life. Pets distracted them from symptoms like hearing voices, suicidal thoughts, or rumination.
Our pets only stay with us for a part of our lives but for them, we are their entire world.
Someone that loves you so passionately can help you get through anything. They have always been our emotional support; our security blanket.
At Now&Me, we foster stronger human connections by sharing our true feelings and emotions. We also believe that connecting with nature and animals makes us feel more alive. You can share your experiences with the Now&Me community as to how having a pet changed your life using our Pets Tag while writing on our website.
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