Pets & Mental Health [ReachOut]

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Pets and mental health

Some of the ways that owning a pet can improve your mental health.

  • Pets are great companions.
    • If you’re feeling lonely or down, pet’s offer company.
    • When feeling bad, it can be tempting to withdraw from friends and family and isolate yourself.
    • Having a pet can help to combat this feeling of isolation.
  • Caring for a pet is a great way to give you a sense of purpose and something positive to focus on.
    • Being responsible for feeding, bathing, walking and grooming an animal is a great way to remind yourself that you’re capable of achieving things, big or small.
    • Exercising the pet is another responsibility, and is also good for you too.
      • Getting out and about is a really positive way to look after your mental health. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll or a run – it’s all good for the mood.
  • Human beings are social by nature. & staying socially connected is important to keeping mentally fit.
    • Having a pet can expand your social networks.
  • Having a structured routine is an important part of looking after our mental health, and is also helpful when it comes to managing symptoms of depression and anxiety. A routine includes things like waking up and going to sleep at a similar time every day, exercising regularly and having three meals every day.
    • Having a pet is another great way to add structure to your day; feed them at similar times every day and take them for daily walks.
  • Whilst it’s super important to stay connected to your social networks, we all know that relationships can sometimes be complicated and end up bringing us distress every now and then. Well, the great thing about pets is that they don’t talk back, they don’t disagree and they certainly don’t argue.

When to get a pet

  • So, there are a lot of great reasons to get a pet.
  • Keep in mind, however, that owning a pet isn’t for everyone. They’re a pretty big responsibility and they’re also expensive to look after; if someone is suffering from severe depression or anxiety, having a pet could end up putting on more pressure instead of making things easier.
  • So, consider your circumstances carefully before you make a decision and remember that a pet isn’t a temporary purchase.
  • If you want, talk it through with someone that you trust to get their perspective on the situation.
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