NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Friday, November 25, 2022

Pets Can Improve Your Mental Health

Millions of people around the world consider their pets to be part of their family.  Not only are pets a source of unconditional love, they can also improve your mental health.

How Can Pets Improve Your Mental Health?
Pets can provide the following mental health benefits:
  • Providing Comfort and Social Support: The mutual love between pets and their humans is a source of comfort for most people.  Pets and humans form a bond that helps each of them to feel less alone. 
Pets Can Improve Your Mental Health

  • Providing Companionship: The comfort of having a pet can reduce loneliness and social isolation. In addition, taking care of a pet can help you to feel needed and loved.
  • Helping to Relieve Stress and Anxiety: Many people who struggle with anxiety experience relief with their pet. Many pets are attuned to their human's stress and anxiety and they provide emotional support.
  • Helping to Relieve Depression: The companionship of a pet can help to relieve depression.
  • Reducing Work Stress: Pets have a way of building bridges in groups. In most work environments employees come together more easily when there is a pet in the office. Pets also help people to be more productive and reduce stress at work.
Pets Can Reduce Work Stress

  • Improving Physical Health: People who have dogs get exercise when they walk them. Daily walks can help with cardiovascular health.
  • Providing Structure and Routine: Pets need daily structure to thrive and so do humans. When you have a pet, you benefit from the daily structure as well.
Pets Can Improve Your Mental Health

  • Helping to Meet New People: People who have pets, especially dogs, often meet new people in dog parks or on daily walks, so pets can be help to increase your social circle.
  • Providing Sensory Stress Relief: Stroking a dog or a cat can help reduce your stress and help to reduce blood pressure. 
  • Providing Help With Managing Emotions: Unconditional love from a pet can help people to manage their emotions when they come home from a stressful day and they are met by their loving pet at the door. This interaction can help people to transition from a difficult day to a loving home environment.
  • Providing Meaning and Joy: Having a pet can provide meaning and joy, especially as you age and lose connection with loved ones who aren't around any more. A pet can increase your pleasure, give you a sense of meaning and purpose, and increase your sense of confidence and optimism.
Pets Are a Major Commitment
Before getting a pet, make sure you understand that it's a major commitment in terms of time and money.

You also have to be around most of the time to take care of a pet. For instance, if you travel a lot and you're not around, this can be lonely for a pet who doesn't understand where you are or if you're coming back.

You also need to make sure you're not allergic to certain pets.

Before you get a pet, make sure you have the right home environment. For instance, big dogs might not get the exercise they need in a small apartment.  In that case, having a cat might be better since they can thrive in cozy spaces.

Under the right circumstances, pets can help improve your overall health and mental health as well as bring you joy and comfort in many ways.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.