Animals are incredibly healing. There are many studies out there about the mental and physical benefits of being around animals. They can even be trained to be service animals, to respond to cues from their owners when they have anxiety attacks or flashbacks from trauma. But today what I want to talk about is the overall benefit to your mental health to have some being that you take care of and spend time with.
I know there are cat people in this world and there are dog people. Then there are some who like both. Of course, if you don’t trust yourself around animals….afraid you’ll neglect them or abuse them…I don’t want you to follow my advice without some serious introspection and/or professional assistance. I also realize there is an expense involved in caring for an animal, so consider that as well.
Having someone to care for can be such a healing and at times, growing experience. Walking a dog gets you outside and moving around a bit, which is helpful if you struggle with depression. Petting a dog or cat can be a calming experience. Animals often know when to curl up in our lap if we are feeling sad or lonely or stressed. They can make us laugh if we watch them play with their toys or their tails.
I have personally seen people change, for the better, with the introduction of an animal into their life. If you can’t have your own, maybe you have a friend with one you could visit or even a visit to a pet store or a petting zoo could benefit you. And, it doesn’t HAVE to be a cat or dog….maybe having a fish or a bird would be the answer for you. If you don’t already, consider getting some fur, fins, or feathers into your life. If you already have a pet, spend some time with them.