There is something that lifts your spirit about coming home to your sweet kitty at the end of the long day. Isn’t funny how you kick off your shoes, plop down on the couch and as your pet yourfur baby all the stress just seems to melt away?
Our cats give us more than just fuzzy feelings. Scientific research proves that pet ownership improves mental health. In fact, research by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that positive human-animal interaction reduces psychological stress and increases levels of oxytocin in the brain (aka the hormone that creates a calming effect when released).
Here’s why this is a big deal – seven out of ten adults in the US say they experience stress or anxiety daily. And chronic stress has more than a few negative impacts on overall health and well-being. Stress often leads to high blood pressure, heart disease, weight gain, and diabetes.
Lucky for you, your sweet kitty could help be part of your cure. Here’s how:
1. They help you calm your nerves
Research suggests even a short 15 minutes of quality time with your kitty can boost your mood and calm nerves. That’s because spending time with your cat releases a chemical called serotonin in the brain. Serotonin boosts “feel-good” chemicals and reduces cortisol levels (aka the stress hormone).
2. They alleviate the stress that keeps you up at night
When under chronic stress it is more difficult to fall and stay asleep. The problem is that while stress keeps you up at night, lack of sleep increases your stress levels the next day—a lose-lose situation. However, sleeping with your cat can help lower stress levels to help you fall asleep quicker and easier. Just make sure if you plan to sleep with your four-legged friend, you have the adequate sleeping arrangements.
3. They reduce anxiety
Not only do pets lower stress levels, their presence can even ease anxious thoughts. In fact, it’s believed service animals can even sense when anxiety levels are on the rise. Having a pet nearby will take the focus off you and allow you to focus on your
companionship. Not to mention, loneliness is a common trigger of anxiety. Having a pet around to keep you company will do you some good!
This blog post is by Lisa Smalls a freelance writer from NC.