The figurative of speech goes something like this: channel your inner demon. Often times, it connects to your current mood. On top of that, it’s most commonly in reference to allowing yourself to feel your emotions, perhaps something that you personally struggle within your own mind. As a result, channel it only for the reasons to combat it.
Well, I’m here to switch it up: channel your inner animal. We are all experiencing a wave of emotions, some good and bad, but they’re there. We might not have had the chance to speak to our close friends, or we acknowledged how difficult it is to live with our parents. Regardless, we need a friend, an entity other than a human. And what better option other than an animal.
As cliche as it might sound, animals are an excellent alternative to fight against mental health issues. Or if we find ourselves in a rut we seem that we can’t get out of. Below we will go over the benefits of purchasing (or adopting) an animal, and how it can help with your mental health.
Benefits of Having an Animal
By channeling our inner animal, it’s just as important to read about the benefits of having an animal around. “Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.” Above all, “Another study found that children with autism spectrum disorder were calmer while playing with guinea pigs in the classroom. When the children spent 10 minutes in a supervised group playtime with guinea pigs, their anxiety levels dropped. The children also had better social interactions and were more engaged with their peers. The researchers suggest that the animals offered unconditional acceptance, making them a calm comfort to the children.”
Nevertheless, the cost of having an animal could be expensive, for most people. That’s not to say you can’t go out and get the animal of your dreams but for those who are on a budget, I’d advise adopting a dog at a nearby shelter. Again, it’s significantly cheaper; and secondly, you’re saving a life. For example, according to Petcare Wellness and Care, as many as three million dogs or cats are put to rest because too many people give up on them. With that being said, be sure if having a dog is the right fit for you, or seeking out a therapist might be a better option. These animals need you as much as you need them. It would be horrible to be in a situation where you had to give them back because you were ready for new responsibilities.
Finding a Shelter
Meanwhile, searching for shelter agencies near you can be a hassle, yet exciting. “Think about finding shelters or rescue groups located reasonably close to your home to make multiple visits easier. Commit to visiting several before making a decision! This is often the hardest part of the process; we all have a soft spot for hard-luck cases after all. Just do your best to remove emotion from the equation.”
While visiting different shelters, these shelters should include an adoption return policy (or a return voucher). The animal should be neutered, or at least the shelter should “give you a discount neuter voucher for a local veterinarian.”
Mental Health Benefits
Finally, if you find yourself with your dog, what should you expect? For one, again, expect more responsibilities. Aside from responsibilities, expect your mood to improve. “Pets, especially dogs and cats, can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve your cardiovascular health. Caring for an animal can help children grow up more secure and active. Pets also provide valuable companionship for older adults. Perhaps most importantly, though, a pet can add real joy and unconditional love to your life.”
My final thoughts: be in touch with your feelings. You might just need an animal to help get through life.
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