If you own a pet, I’m willing to bet that you’re less stressed than your non-pet-owning friends. In fact, there’s quite a bit of research and studies on how owning – or just petting – an animal can significantly decrease your stress levels, as well as all the negative health effects that come from being too stressed out.
I grew up with animals. My family had dogs (one at a time and the longest-lived were boxers), a cat, horses, chickens, fish, birds (at times), guinea pigs, rabbits, and even a hamster. My favorites among these were the dogs and the cat because they were the ones I was around the most.
I remember spending a lot of time with the dog, just petting her, hugging her, and keeping her close. I likely didn’t consciously realize it at the time, but petting those puppers helped with how I felt. The husband and I have a cat now, and I could immediately see the positive impact she’s had on our lives. We’re laughing more, smiling more, and I feel less wound up after having pet her.
Sometimes she acts like a dog and it’s so cute.
I’m feeling less stressed out just writing this!
I mentioned in my post on keeping your sanity in college that if there’s an animal shelter nearby, go volunteer there! The schools that put on those “Pet the Stress Away” events know what’s up. During dead week and finals week, what you really need is fifteen minutes petting a dog.