5 Ways Dogs Can Help Us Fight Depression
Are you mentally feeling lost in a dark pit-hole? Have you noticed symptoms of depression in your teenage child after a setback your family had to face?
Whether you or anybody else associated with you is losing hope in life, there’s someone who can help you. Bring home a puppy or a dog, and he will do all the therapy your psychologist couldn’t do. But, it doesn’t mean that you can skip on the treatment and medication you are taking to combat depression.
By 2030, depression will become the second-leading reason behind global disease, says Heesch in an article published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
A dog can teach you how to ‘stop pretending and start living’ for yourself and your furry friend! Here are 5 amazing ways your dog can help you fight depression:
Physical Activity with Your Best Furr-end:
More than the advice of a psychologist, a dog can get you going every morning.
Among the top-most symptoms of depression, inactivity is a prominent one. Lacking the motivation to get out of bed and go for a long walk alone is something we all detest. The dogs require at least a daily long walk, and it could be your next motivation. Would you want your furr-end to suffer along with you?
A dog can pull off your blanket, and bring those jogger placed at the darkest corner of your room every morning. Their energy is contagious for people of all ages. They can accompany you everywhere you go, and make you laugh with their funny mishaps all the time.
Depression is caused due to an imbalance of three neurotransmitters, which are serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, after a change in external stimuli. They function by regulating emotions, responses to stress stimuli, and the drives to appetite, sleep, and sexuality. Exercise or walk helps in an increased release of endorphins, the feel-good chemicals. Endorphins antagonize the effects caused by the three neurotransmitters. So, walk or exercise can help you!
According to Scientific American, women who had “200 minutes of walking every week had more energy, socialized more, felt better emotionally, and weren’t as limited by their depression when researchers followed up after three years.”
24 X 7 Companionship Offering You Unconditional Love:
We all want to be understood and loved unconditionally. The support your companion dogs can give you by accepting you “as you already are” is irreplaceable. Depressed people want to be listened to without criticism and a bombardment of advices to “STOP FEELING” everything. Your dog furr-end can support you even in your most idiosyncratic phase by getting involved in it. Moreover, they are always there for you!
Loneliness, mostly, eats up people from the inside. Man is a social animal, and dogs can pave the way for you to go out and meet new people. Studies have revealed that a dog’s companionship can help in lowering blood pressure, cholesterol level and a reduced risk of heart failure.
Less Anxiety and More Work with Your Furr-end:
Children who have pets are proven to develop emotionally intelligent personalities. Besides this, they are excellent listeners and cuddlers, which can help anxious and depressed people. They can help you stay on track by assisting you in your daily chores. They are demanding too, so you will have to move around the house to fulfill their needs.
Research has proven that people with dogs suffer less from anxiety or depression. Studies have shown that physical activity and touch signals are effective for managing anxiety. Moreover, grooming, bathing, and petting your dog helps to reduce stress sensors in depressed people.
Note: If dogs suffer from anxiety and stress, consider giving them melatonin. For more information, read this.
Hugging Your Furr-end is a Soothing Therapy:
Physical contact has incredible benefits for depressed people. Facts show that physical contact with humans or animals can shoot up oxytocin levels, which can help to reduce stress-causing chemicals in the brain. Hugs not only work as mood boosters but also act as stepping stone for further physical contact with humans.
People suffering from stress or depression need a lot of hugs and cuddling, but sadly enough, not everyone is so blessed to be cared for at all times. Due to negative vibes of depressed people, they are often left alone and get avoided. But, a dog will never leave you alone!
A dog’s constant licking, cuddles in your lap, and a desire to be petted can keep you distracted from negative thoughts.
Your Furr-End Comes At A Cost Called “Responsibility”:
You have to feed, exercise, and love your dog in return to enjoy rest of the benefits mentioned above. Dogs follow routines, and you have to follow them at any cost to enjoy the fun and energy they always bring with them. Some dogs will require more care than others. Dogs with Down Syndrome will need extra care and attention just like a human with Down Syndrome for example.
Depressed people easily slip away from real world day by day. But, your dog would not like you to neglect his needs and sleep all day long. They can bring you back to real world, where a lot of responsibilities require our attention.
Fiona Appleton is a Labrador owner. She is the manager of https://ultimatehomelife.com/ that has been developed to help people solve the troubles of pet ownership. She is an active advocate of animal protection campaigns. She wants people to understand that dog-behavior is reflective of our behavior.