Animals have been long known to be the favorite companions of humans. For many years animals have been used to aid those with physical disabilities, however not often is it that we hear about animals assisting with our mental health. Without even knowing it, animals provide a plethora of therapies, especially to people who are suffering from mental illnesses.
- Cat purring is therapeutic due to the association of purring with calm and relaxation, the frequency of a cats purr is also known to stimulate emotional healing
- Cuddling with cats is known to lower blood pressure
- Petting a cat produces stress-reducing hormones and stabilizes anxiety levels
My Personal Experience With Cats: I love cats. They are wonderful companions. I volunteer at KC Pet Project and work with their cats, and while I provide therapies for them, they do the same for me. It’s a really great feeling when a cat accepts you as a friend and it can boost one’s confidence greatly!
- Interacting with dogs triggers a hormonal release that fight stress
- Dogs combat depression with their unconditional love, keeping you in touch with the world, and providing routine
- Caring for a dog makes you feel less threatened when it comes to social anxiety and social interaction
My Personal Experience With Dogs: I am the owner of 3 dogs. Each one of them is great. Petting my dogs always does seem to calm me down if I’m feeling overwhelmed, and at my school we often bring dogs to help students de-stress. When I have mood swings, my dogs can tell and they always come lay down with me. Dogs are great listeners and their love is unconditional.
- Working with horses promotes confidence, lowers anxiety, and teaches patience
- Equine-assisted therapy has been proven to lower blood pressure
- The calm nature of a horse enhances social skills, helps with anger management and behavioural problems
My Experience With Horses: I used to ride horses as a kid. Working as a team with a powerful animal like a horse definitely requires calm, control, and emotional regulation. I have actually experienced equine therapy and can see how it can be helpful. Part of equine therapy is the horse ending the session by ‘hugging’ you and let me say, if a 1200lb beast believes in you, you do too.
Check Out The Pet Effect! www.mentalhealthamerica.net/blog/better-mental-health-experience-pet-effect
How Can We Integrate Animal Therapies In Our Own Lives?
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