Pets and Stress Relief

Pets are basically just like children. It can also be stressful to keep them because taking care of them can be pretty much demanding. However, pets are also considered as one of the best relief for stress. This is especially true with patients who are recovering from surgery or any other sickness. Studies have shown that taking care of pets helps the patients heal or recover faster. Most patients recovering from surgery usually feel stressed. Having pets to look after can help these patients to divert their worries and concerns from what is causing them stress.

Taking care of pets has very significant effects in a person’s psychological well-being. Cats, for instance, are known to be oblivious to their owners’ problems. Once they feel hungry, all they care about is having their meal immediately. They will express this need by rubbing their body against their owner's legs. Because cats do get to act a bit demanding, the person taking care of it will have no choice but to attend to its needs, therefore, shifting his attention away from what is stressing him.

Our sympathetic nervous system functions with other glands in our brain, producing hormones and signals that help with our alert mechanism. When we shift our attention away from something, our parasympathetic nervous system becomes activated causing us to calm down. This allows our body to achieve homeostasis -- the state where the body’s equilibrium is sustained.

Dogs are the most favorite animals to pet by many people. Although they can sometimes cause stress like when they start digging holes in the garden or backyard, destroying valuable stuff or leaving mess on the carpet, playing with them definitely helps to get rid of stress. Dogs, unlike cats, are very sympathetic. They feel it when you are down or sick. This is basically why they are called, "man’s best friend."

For more than 10,000 years now, dogs have been domesticated. They have become good partners of humans in doing various activities like fishing, jogging, biking and many other activities that also help relieve stress. These activities are known to reduce stress and when done with your loved dogs, the effects become amplified.

Another pet that can be a source of stress relief is aquarium fish. Petting a fish is not easy. It is actually demanding and requires careful planning. Because you have to be responsible in keeping your pet fish alive, your attention will be shifted from your problems to your pet. At the same time, fish and other sea creatures are very interesting to observe as you get to learn many things about them and their behavior. So, instead of mulling over a sad event at work, you will rather become amused.

There are other animals to pet like tropical birds, hamsters, ferret, just to name a few. These animals typically can make people smile. In fact, some people even find their behavior very entertaining, which eventually will cause serious laughter. And we all know that laughter is the best medicine.

Even though there seems to be a difference in person to animal communication than in person to person communication, there is actually a wonderful way how the former works. Persons and animals have this amazing way of effectively communicating non-verbally. There seems to be a connection that goes beyond mere words, which makes relationship between man and pet stronger. Feeling of support and assurance is just one of the many benefits of this kind of relationship. No demands, no expectations; just a plain bond that goes beyond explanations.