A Warm And Fuzzy Way To Address Stress
Want to manage your stress? Get a pet! Studies have shown that pet owners, particularly the elderly, have lower blood pressure, are less likely to be depressed, and have higher self-esteem than people who don’t care for companion animals. Animal-assisted therapy may also help. Involving the use of animals – dogs, horses, even dolphins – in the treatment of both physical and mental disorders, animal-assisted therapy can provide experiences that promote self-esteem and an awareness of others, and help patients develop trust and better social skills. While scientific evidence to demonstrate how well these approaches work is just beginning, proponents (including patients) remain enthusiastic.
Owning a pet can be stressful as well, so make sure you make the best decision for you. Often the early months to years are the most stressful. Consider adoption of a trained and already calm adult animal. If ownership is not for you, consider volunteering at your local animal shelter and spending time bonding with pets that could use some love.
Today’s Health Topics
Ask Dr. Weil's Q&A