Mental Health Awareness week takes place between the 18th and 24th of May this year and is the perfect time to celebrate all the positives that our beloved pets can bring to our mental health.
While any pet lover knows that our furry (or not so furry) friends bring us lots of joy, there are, in fact, many scientifically proven benefits to owning an animal. Not only do they create lots of fun, laughter, and love in our homes, they can help us to become healthier and happier human beings too.
So what are some of the incredible benefits that our pets bring? Let’s take a look!
Effects on mental health from pets
They get us into the great outdoors
Pets such as dogs and horses motivate us to go outside into the fresh air and get some exercise on a daily basis. Doing so not only keeps us physically fit and active, but also is excellent for our mental health. Studies have shown that walks in nature and staying active are hugely beneficial for the mind as well as the body. Exercise is particularly useful for relieving stress and can even encourage us to be more social too. For those who find it difficult to interact with the outside world, having a pet that needs exercise motivates them to do so.
They are fantastic companions
Many people suffer from loneliness. In fact, according to The Independent, over 9 million people in the UK feel this way. Having a pet can help to ease the upset that comes with feeling alone or worrying that no one would notice should anything terrible happen. Another warm body in the house, and having something to talk to (even if they can’t talk back), can massively help those who feel isolated and in need of a friend.
They are non-judgemental
Often people with mental illness struggle to talk about how they are feeling for fear that others wouldn’t understand or would judge them. Pets only care that they are well looked after, they won’t judge you if you don’t get out of bed before midday, cry at a TV advert, are struggling with day to day life or feel fat, stupid or useless. They provide endless love and friendship with no agenda or ulterior motive. This makes them excellent companions for those who find it difficult to relate to others.
They are calming
Pets are wonderfully calming and scientific research backs this up with one study claiming that stroking a cat or dog for a mere 10 minutes can reduce stress. Therapy dogs are also widely used for patients with various conditions, including dementia, and can calm patients down when they are feeling confused and angry. Dogs have also widely been used to help children with Autism who find it difficult to express their feelings in a way that others understand.
They build routine
Owning and caring for a pet also helps people get into a particular routine, which can be extremely helpful for those with mental health issues. Having a schedule can help us feel more organised and on top of things, which can, in turn, lead to feeling more calm and clear of mind.
They teach us to care
Pets also help those who are wrapped up in their own world and have lots of problems to focus on something other than themselves. Pets require care and attention and having a pet can give these individuals focus and purpose, which can be extremely helpful. Having another living thing relying on you to provide and care for them can help boost self-worth too.
They instil a sense of pride in us
Looking after our treasured animals takes a lot of time, effort, and expense. When our pets are healthy and happy, we feel proud of ourselves for taking such good care of them, and this helps boost confidence and self-esteem.
Pets are wonderful companions and can be truly life-changing for people struggling with mental health issues. At Petributes, we know how important it is to care for our pets and give them the very best life possible to show our gratitude for all the fantastic things they do for us. So let’s use this mental health week to celebrate all the amazing, caring, loving pets out there!
When the time comes to say goodbye to your pet, make sure you give them the send-off they deserve. Our pet urns and memorial products are beautifully crafted, and a fitting way to pay tribute and ensure those special memories will always remain close to your heart.