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Animals & Health

Animals & Health

The Healing Power of Animals

September 10, 2019

How Physical & Emotional Health is Enhanced Through the Comfort & Companionship from Animals

Animals provide us with such an invaluable source of peace, support, and positivity. The simple act of being around animals, talking to and interacting with them, and coming into physical contact with an animal has numerous healing properties, both physically and emotionally.

The simple act of petting an animal or having a pet sit or lay beside you is a significant stress reliever. Many people who live with animals or own pets will claim that the presence of their pet makes them forget their worries and stressors. This can be explained by the fact that being around animals helps us to remain present and in the moment. Animals do not dwell on the past and although they can express feelings like dislike, anger, or sadness, they move on from these feelings quickly or at least, much more quickly than human beings do. Pets simply enjoy the company of their owner and it is the care and nurturing that you provide to your pet that makes him/her happy. The here and now nature of animals is passed onto us when we are around them, helping us to enjoy the present moment rather than being caught up with thoughts about the past or future; thoughts that are largely responsible for the development and maintenance of chronic stress.

It’s also common, particularly among domesticated animals like dogs and cats, for pets to develop an ability to sense your mood and emotions. Animals have a unique way of responding to your needs by lying on your lap or following you around when they feel you may be struggling. They are able to sense your energy and mood, which makes their care-taking instincts kick in. Yes, many pets are caretakers and feel it is their duty to be your companion and take care of you. Dogs, for instance, are pack animals and apply many instinctual pack behaviors to care for you.

The claims about the amazing role animals and pets have in our lives could sound difficult to believe for people who have never had the opportunity to get close to a pet; however, for those who have welcomed an animal into their lives, they know the important role the animal has to their wellbeing and quality of life.

Below we will discuss the various benefits to your physical health that comes with having a pet or being around animals in addition to how animals can serve as an adjunct to mental health treatment.

Worksheet 1: Self-Esteem & Self-Love