Animals have been united with mankind for thousands of years. Since the dawn of human civilization, we’ve fortified relationships with other species, fostering the kinship of felines and sowing the seeds of man's best friend. It's undeniable that tending to the companionship and care of animals can be deeply affecting, and the benefits can be empowering for all facets of our health.
Many people struggle with mental illness, which can manifest with chronic symptoms that affect daily living. Animals can help counter the negative cloud of mood disorders like depression and anxiety while even lessening the symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and other illnesses.
Combat veterans struggling with PTSD can benefit from companion animals, and the presence of animals has been shown to reduce violence in prisons through special programs that unite inmates with homeless cats and dogs that otherwise would’ve died in shelters. Similarly, neighborhoods that are patrolled by police on horses show reduced crime rates.
The healing and calming effect of animals can be deeply felt across the globe. Animals are able to tap into the side of us that’s nourishing and compassionate. We feel a need to protect animals, and when they bond with us, it's a love that’s unconditional and wholly innocent. Many humans are able to connect and feel comfortable around pets in a way they can't with other people.
Animals don't judge or have expectations, which helps us feel less vulnerable and exposed. In this way, pets can empower us and help turn our lives around for the better.
Even if you’re not the most spiritually connected person, you may be surprised at how much spirituality can resonate with you once you have a pet. For those who have lost a pet, the natural progression of grief will leave a door open to the spiritual side of oneself. We always want to believe that pets pass on and still experience the beauty of the natural world. We want to imagine they’re free of pain and that they can feel the love we bleed for them so easily.
Pet mediums actually dedicate themselves to communicating with the spirits of dead pets, which can greatly help in the healing process for their grieving owners. Spiritual messages sent are typically in the realm of simple feelings, visions, or thoughts attributed to favorite smells, sights, or toys the pet may have had.
Similarly, a pet psychic can be used to help understand the behaviors and moods of pets that are still in our world. Animals have personalities as varied as people, and sometimes those personalities can be strong or hard to understand. A pet psychic is very sensitive to the needs and interests of animals, so he or she can help you understand what your pet may want from you.
A lot of us have trouble staying active, especially when depression and stress get in the way of our motivation and confidence. Having a pet can actually help us generate energy to move and stay active each day, which can result in a fit body that’s able to power through tough days.
One way pets can help us physically is by encouraging us to walk. Walking is a great way to improve cardiovascular health while aiding in weight loss. If you have a dog, then going for daily walks will improve the fitness of both you and your pup. You can even take your cat on walks by acclimating him or her to a harness. If your kitty is averse to walking on a leash, then you can also invest in a pet stroller, which will allow you to go on walks while your cat is safely contained yet still able to watch and enjoy fresh air and nature.
Getting up in the morning for walks is also a great way to stabilize our circadian rhythms. Getting enough rest and waking up at the same time each day is important for our longevity, and caring for a pet will help us stay on a regular schedule. Simply going through the typical motions of cleaning up and preparing meals for pets is enough to motivate us and help keep us active for ongoing physical health.
Whether you've been struggling with mental illness or you're just yearning for the companionship of another being, getting a pet can help and challenge you in many ways. Of course, it's important to weigh the responsibilities and make sure you're up to the demands of caring for a pet. Though there may be trials along the way, the effort is well worth the love and spiritual connection animals can summon within us.
If you’re looking for more natural ways to soothe mental health concerns, make sure to read this other great article!