When thinking of ways to reduce stress in life, usually techniques like meditation, yoga and journaling come to mind. These are great techniques, to be sure. But getting a new best friend can also have many stress relieving and health benefits. While human friends provide great social support and come with some fabulous benefits, this article focuses on the benefits of furry friends: Puppies!
Research shows that, unless you’re someone who really dislikes animals or is absolutely too busy to care for one properly, puppies can provide excellent social support, stress relief and other health benefits-perhaps more than people! Here are more health benefits of puppies:
Puppies Can Improve Your Mood
For those who love animals, it’s virtually impossible to stay in a bad mood when a pair of loving puppy eyes meets yours. Research supports the mood-enhancing benefits of puppies.
Puppies Control Blood Pressure Better Than Drugs
Yes, it’s true. While ACE inhibiting drugs can generally reduce blood pressure, they aren’t as effective on controlling spikes in blood pressure due to stress and tension. However, in a recent study, groups of hypertensive New York stockbrokers who got dogs were found to have lower blood pressure and heart rates than those who didn’t. When they heard of the results, most of those in the non-pet group went out and got puppies!
Puppies Can Help With Social Support
When we’re out walking, having a puppy with us can make us more approachable and give people a reason to stop and talk, thereby increasing the number of people we meet, giving us an opportunity to increase our network of friends and acquaintances, which also has great stress management benefits.
Puppies Encourage You To Get Out And Exercise
Whether we walk our dogs because they need it, or are more likely to enjoy a walk when we have companionship, dog owners do spend more time walking than non-pet owners, at least if we live in an urban setting. Because exercise is good for stress management and overall health, owning a dog can be credited with increasing these benefits.
Puppies Stave Off Loneliness and Provide Unconditional Love
Puppies can be there for you in ways that people can’t. They can offer love and companionship, and can also enjoy comfortable silences, keep secrets and are excellent snugglers. And they could be the best antidote to loneliness. In fact, research shows that nursing home residents reported less loneliness when visited by dogs than when they spent time with other people! All these benefits can reduce the amount of stress people experience in response to feelings of social isolation and lack of social support from people.
Puppies Can Reduce Stress-Sometimes More Than People
While we all know the power of talking about your problems with a good friend who’s also a good listener, recent research shows that spending time with a dog may be even better! Recent research shows that, when conducting a task that’s stressful, people actually experienced less stress when their dogs were with them than when a supportive friend or even their spouse was present! (This may be partially due to the fact that dogs don’t judge us; they just love us.)
Dogs can be emotional lifesavers as well, because they help people adapt, adjust and deal with many changes and losses in life.
Dogs’ unconditional love gives their owners a sense of worth and responsibility when caring for them; dogs can help people learn about the continuity of life – birth, death, loss and grief – and offer a sense of intimacy.
They are even a way to help couples prepare to have children.
It’s important to realize that owning a pet isn’t for everyone. Pets do come with additional work and responsibility, which can bring its own stress.
However, for most people, the benefits of having a pet outweigh the drawbacks.
Having a furry best friend can reduce stress in your life and bring you support when times get tough.
Do you have a furry best friend?