Animals can be best friends of a man – you have heard this cliché so many times. But what does it really mean? And is it true? Some advantages of having a pet are obvious, but not all of them. Not only you can play and cuddle with them, but they also have positive impact on your mental and physical health. Here are some reasons you should consider having a pet.
- They can reduce stress. Receiving social support is one of the most important indicators of happiness. Spending time with people who value you and your actions reduces stress and helps your mental state. Studies have shown that thoughts about person’s pet reduces stress with the same intensity as thoughts about their best friends.
- Contact with pets is beneficial for your health. As numerous studies have proven, having a pet improves your physical condition. Spending time with friendly animals reduces blood pressure and decreases muscle tension. Pet owners are less likely to suffer from heart diseases and they exercise more frequently. Moreover, contact with animals may reduce negative mental outcomes of physical illness, such as cancer or coronary artery disease.
- Having companion animal helps you socialize. Good relationships with animals positively affect relationships with other people. First of all, you may find friends among other pet owners and bond over a common struggles and joy. Secondly, studies have proven that in public places, people with pets receive more signs of positive attitude, such as smiles and conversation, than people without pets.
- They help you find joy in simple situations. Having a special bond with an animal gives feelings of comfort and, as many pet owners state, love. Observing your pet, spending time together, playing or going for a walk can bring joy. Some studies show, that this factor might be especially beneficial for people struggling with depression and anxiety.
- They make your life more organized. Becoming a pet owner means that you must accept some responsibilities. You need to schedule your holiday, know who will take care of your pet if you will get sick. Moreover, owning a pet is sometimes associated with unplanned expenses – visiting the vet or buying expensive food. Even the simple everyday situations, like going for a walk, need to be included in your daily routine. In all those situations you will develop organizational skills.
As you can see, there are multiple benefits of becoming a pet owner. Despite those positives, you should always make a deliberate decision and consider all the factors, including the negative ones. Are you responsible enough? Do you have support from your family and friends? Think it through and make an informed decision.
O’Haire, M. (2010). Companion animals and human health: Benefits, challenges, and the road ahead. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: clinical applications and research, 5(5), 226-234.
Magda Domańska is a master’s-degree student at the University of Warsaw, Poland. She is interested in educational psychology and family therapy. She is participating in a summer internship programme at Willingness.com.mt.