If you love animals and are looking to make a new addition to your family, you may want to adopt one from the local animal shelter instead of shopping in a pet store.
When you adopt an animal, you save a life and help shelters rescue more animals.
Doing a good deed can make you feel good, but more importantly, caring for a pet can positively affect your mental and emotional health.
The presence of animals in rehab facilities may also help people battling substance abuse.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) published a study showing how pets support the recovery process of people with serious mental illness, including substance use disorder.
Even if the animals are not their pets, patients may still experience the health benefits of engaging with animals.
If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse, you may want to look at how animals can assist in your recovery.
You may want to ask your healthcare provider if they can refer a nearby facility or an out-of-state Fort Myers drug rehab center with a treatment program involving animals.
Adopting a pet can also support your life in recovery after completing treatment.
If you are still considering why being a pet owner will be good for your health, you may want to see the following reasons.
Promotes Physical Activities
When you engage in physical activities with your pet, you both become fit and healthy.
Taking your dog for a walk or run can be a great exercise routine. Doing it regularly can also help you lose weight.
Research for Human-Animal Interaction found that housing residents who walked dogs for five days a week with up to 20 minutes per session lost an average of 14.4 pounds in a year despite no changes to their diets.
In addition to regular exercise, playing with your pet is another form of physical activity.
When you run after them or play catch, you also move your body while having fun. The constant movement promotes vitality and increases your energy too.
Creates Structure by Keeping a Schedule
If you are recovering from addiction and other mental disorders, you will find establishing a structure helpful.
A good way to start is by following a regular schedule, which can support a healthy lifestyle.
When you adopt a pet, you may notice how they have a routine for sleeping, eating, and doing their business.
This allows you to maintain a schedule to take care of them properly. It encourages you to follow a sleep schedule, providing you with ample rest to let your body recover.
This results in a stronger immune system and improved concentration.
As you integrate your schedule with your pet’s, it may help you become more mindful of taking care of your personal needs, such as eating on time.
Pets can also help you be more responsible. For example, you may want to come home early to make sure your pet is fed.
Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Adopting a pet can help reduce anxiety. Caring for your pet can keep you busy and distract you from worrying about other things.
It is also easier to overcome loneliness with a pet, even when you live alone. Pets naturally give unconditional love, giving you comfort and joy.
When you stroke your pet, it gives sensory stress relief that lowers blood pressure and keeps you calm.
A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that when dogs and humans interact positively (such as cuddling), their oxytocin levels increase.
This chemical is sometimes called the love hormone and has been linked to positive emotions, thereby helping lessen stress.
As you create a stronger bond with your pet, more oxytocin is also released.
Increase Social Interaction
Having a pet doesn’t just provide companionship; it can also increase your social interactions with other people.
They may serve as a conversation topic when meeting fellow pet owners.
For example, if you have a dog, you may create new friendships with other dog owners when out on walks or in a dog park.
Sharing the same interest in pets can help boost your confidence to talk to different people, whether you meet them in pet stores or on the street.
These are just a few of the reasons why adopting a pet is good for your health, including your mental well-being.
If you are in recovery, having a pet can promote and sustain your progress. Lastly, a pet can help keep you company and give you another source of joy.
Although cats and dogs are the most common choices, you can contact your local animal shelter to know if there are other animals you can adopt.