After a long day at work, one of my favorite things to do is play with my cats. When I’m with them it’s as if a wave of calm washes over me and I feel instantly relaxed. One day I wondered why it was so easy to feel this way once in the presence of my cats. So I looked it up and this is what I found!
Interacting with animals has so many health benefits for humans. They say that dogs are a mans best friend and they say that for good reason. Being around animals can increase your heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. It decreases the feeling of stress by lowering cortisol levels. It reduces loneliness, boosts your mood, and increases feelings of social support.
Increase Heart Health
Lower blood pressure increases heart health. Simply stroking or petting an animal can lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Decreases Cortisol Levels
Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone. Too much cortisol can cause anxiety, depression, weight gain, trouble sleeping, digestion problems, and memory/concentration problems. Spending time with animals enables our brains to release oxytocin which in turn lowers our cortisol levels.
Cats, Dogs, Reptiles, Amphibians, Birds, or Fish can make a great addition to any household. Having the companionship or presence of another being after a long day at work decreases the feeling of loneliness which in turn prevents anxiety and depression.
Boosts Your Mood
Many animals are very loyal creatures. Once they have bonded with you as their owner they learn to be extremely receptive and empathetic as well. Having a companion like that can turn any frown upside down.
Increases Feelings of Social Support
Though animals cannot speak. They pick up on social cues and emotions very easily. Many animals can be trained to offer emotional support to their owners. With all the health benefits animals provide, it is no surprise that not only dogs but cats and birds can be registered emotional support animals as well!
So now that you know all the wonderful benefits that come with spending time with animals here are some ways can you get your fuzzy fix today! If you’ve been on the fence for adoption, it may be time to finally cross that line. So many shelters are looking for amazing adoptive homes.
If adoption is not in the cards here are some other options for you. Cat cafes are a growing trend in North America. Cat cafes are establishments that have free roaming rescue cats for guests to spend time with. They vary at price per hour and some have food and beverage available as well. A couple cat cafes in the Bay Area are KitTea Cafe in San Francisco and Cat Town in Oakland.
So the next time you’re feeling down and you're usual coping mechanisms just aren't cutting it, think about spending some quality time with animals!