5 Ways Dogs Can Improve Mental Health

Nov 01, 2022     |      Sophie's Circle

Do you suffer from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD? Don’t worry. You are not alone. There are millions of people worldwide that suffer from all sorts of mental health issues. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, these issues lead to the increased stress level, a loss of purpose, and even a loss when it comes to social connections.

Everything seems dark and gloomy when you suffer from mental health issues. But did you know that there is evidence that a connection with your pets can benefit you, both mentally & emotionally, in the long run?

So, what exactly can we do to help ourselves begin healing? Have you ever considered getting yourself a furry four-legged emotional assistant? Here are five ways a dog can help you fight off all the doom and gloom in your life.

1. They Reduce Stress and Anxiety.

There is no doubt that this world can fill us up with massive amounts of stress and anxiety. These feelings are due to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. If you want to get your stress down while increasing your oxytocin & serotonin levels, there is one simple answer. Simple interactions with your dog (or any dog), such as petting and holding, can lower your cortisol levels. While social interactions with them, such as playing with them and making them part of your everyday life, can increase your body’s production of oxytocin (the feel-good hormone).

2. Encourages Routine & Stability

As creatures of habit, dogs need routine and stability to be healthy and happy. Establishing a stable daily routine will help your Furr-baby keep a sunny and cheerful outlook on the world. Not only do regular routines help with your pup’s health, but they can also help you create a level of organization & structure that can improve your health. Establishing a sleep routine will help to reassure and comfort your dog while enabling both of you to get the rest you need. In addition, the amount of sleep you get at night influences your day’s quality, mental sharpness, performance, emotional well-being, and energy level. Not only do stable routines help reduce your stress levels, but it also helps your pup know what to expect during the day - From waking up to when you’re getting home, and everything in between.

3. They encourage physical activity.

There is no doubt that working out, or any physical activity, tends to be daunting. Sometimes even the thought of working out can make you exhausted - especially when your mental health isn’t 100%. But not all physical activity needs to be like that. Dogs love to play, go for walks, and always look forward to healthy exercise. Talking to your Furr baby for a walk will defiantly perk them up the minute you step outside, and by the end of the walk, your mood will be boosted as well! So why not make your day better and get out for a bit? You won’t regret it!

4. They help develop social connections.

Did you know that having a dog can benefit your social life? Owning a dog gives off the vibe that you are friendly and more approachable than an average non-dog-owning person. When you own a dog, you tend to be more open to others and participate in intimate conversations. By serving as icebreakers & conversation starters, dogs can ease tension and stress levels in a social situation. This makes most people feel calmer and more at ease. In addition, your four-legged best friend is always a subject of conversation, making the chance to connect with another dog lover easier.

5. Boost a sense of confidence and acceptance since they love unconditionally.

Are you someone who suffers from low self-esteem? Self-esteem depends on how loved and accepted they feel in their world. When you are someone with low self-esteem, it may be because of a lack of emotional support & positive affirmation from friends and loved ones. Other than the variety of therapies regularly available, there is a solution that is even simpler and more rewarding! That solution would be to get yourself a dog. Dogs can love their owners unconditionally, forgive you for any mistake you make, and continue giving you their endless love and acceptance. But you must be there and give them your love, attention, and affection in return. But that is not all. With all of that unconditional love they provide their owners, they will also give a boost in confidence. This confidence booster will improve your health and your social life altogether. Improving your overall health is something that everyone should make a priority. Getting a dog is a helpful way to reduce stress & anxiety and get into a stable daily routine. They encourage physical activity and help develop social connections, all while providing us with a level of unconditional love and confidence we might now experience anywhere else. If this interests you, it might be time to look into getting a dog!