5. Wards Off Depression
If you’re worried about your mental health, a pet can help! Research from the British Psychological Society claims pets can help lower social anxiety and boost self-esteem in their owners thanks to the calming effects of unconditional acceptance—especially in those prone to feelings of low self-worth and depression.
6. Soothes Stress
There is something extremely calming about petting my cat. Just having him curled up in the same room as me has taught me a lot about relaxation. The calming effect of our pets is thanks to a powerful neurochemical called oxytocin, which a research study from the State University of New York at Buffalo linked to decreasing cortisol (a stress hormone) and blood pressure by approximately 50-percent, and lowering the symptoms of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) considerably.
7. Lowers Blood Pressure
As a matter of fact, the same group of studies from Buffalo State University, in New York credits pets for drastically reducing hypertension symptoms. The study monitored pet owners who took blood pressure medication and found that those who owned pets experienced a 50-percent decrease in overall blood pressure response.
8. Strengthens Social Bonds
In both younger and older adults, those with pets tend to show stronger community and social ties compared to those without pets, according to research from the Journal of Applied Developmental Science. Indeed, pet-owners displayed more confidence, greater social empathy, and took on more leadership roles than non-pet owners.