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The Stress-Reducing Power of Dogs

In addition to becoming a loving member of your family, dogs can also help reduce your stress.Most dog owners feel better when they’re around their furry friend, and studies have uncovered several ways in which their dog is improving their mental health. This article will cover four ways your canine companion can help relieve your stress.

Petting dogs can reduce stress
Most dogs love it when you pet them and studies have shown that this simple act will relieve stress. Petting a dog has been shown to increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin while decreasing the release of the stress hormone cortisol. It has also been shown to lower blood pressure, relieve tension and provide a distraction from pain. The ability of dogs to make people feel better is so powerful that trained therapy
dogs are often used to provide stress relief and other mental health benefits to individuals in hospitals, retirement residences, long-term care centers and universities and colleges.

Dog owners tend to be more active
Dogs love to go for walks, but they can’t do it by themselves, which forces dog owner to become more active. Such physical activity decreases the production of stress hormones by increasing the release of feel-good endorphins. The need to provide dogs with exercise also encourages their owners to get outside more often, which has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health. Studies have found that spending time in green spaces like parks and forests results in lower levels of harmful stress
hormones. Taking your dog for a walk in the woods is a great way to take advantage of two ways to reduce your stress: physical activity and connecting with nature.

Dogs make you laugh
Laughing is another activity shown to reduce stress and dogs are some of the best comedians out there. They have a knack for making people laugh on a daily basis by doing things that they find weird, comical and surprising. Even the way they look at you with a goofy expression can be enough to give you a good case of the giggles. In addition to stress relief, the act of laughing also relieves physical tension and stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles by increasing your intake of oxygen.

Having a dog reduces feelings of loneliness and social isolation
Feelings of loneliness and social isolation can often lead to increased levels of stress. Dogs can alleviate these feelings because they are the ultimate companions providing unconditional love and affection. Dogs are always happy to see their owners and give them attention, which can help prevent feelings of loneliness in people living by themselves. Having a pet can also help prevent social isolation by providing people with a way to connect with their neighbors. When you take your dog for a walk, he will naturally want to say hello to other dogs, which gives you an opportunity to talk to other dog owners.

Now that you know how much a dog can improve your mental well being, you may be tempted to rush out and pick one up today. While dogs may help reduce stress, they also require a significant amount of care and attention. If you’re not ready for that level of commitment, try to think of other ways to connect with dogs such as volunteering at the humane society or spending time with a friend’s pet. The world is full of dogs, and finding ways to pet, walk, live with, and laugh at them are great techniques to reduce stress.

This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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