Did you know your dog can help you get over your symptoms of anxiety and depression? Research has shown just petting a dog for a few minutes can help release “feel good” hormones like serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin. This is a feel good source that is there for you whenever you need it. A good dog will love you unconditionally and you can have access to those hormones whenever you choose.
Studies have even suggested that pets can be a more consistent source of comfort than humans. Most dogs also love to be walked, which encourages the owner to get exercise. Regular exercise will increase self-esteem and decrease symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety.
If you are an anxious thinker a dog can serve as a distraction from your thoughts that can be hard to get out of. Some people with anxiety think obsessively about a topic of concern. An adorable smiling dog with a ball in his mouth can be a good way to get your mind off of your worries. Many times just not thinking about your concern can be enough to calm you down.
Depression can sometimes cage us into not being motivated to do much of anything. A dog can encourage us to get up and face our day, go for a walk or play. My goldendoodle, Puma, wakes me up when the kids start to make noises in the morning by snuggling in next to me. He jumps on the bed and curls up as physically close to me as possible. His cuddly approach to waking me up makes me smile and makes me more positive about getting up. Also training a dog can give you a project to work on and feel good about.
Dogs can also add stress if it is not well trained or not the right breed for your family. Do your research before you commit to adding a dog to your family. There are many great websites that help you decide what dog would be best for you. Choosing the right dog can add a lot of joy and comfort to your life.