Battling depression on a daily basis can be challenging. If you are struggling to keep your depression symptoms in check, then you might want to talk with your therapist about the benefits of investing in a pet. Pets can play a valuable role in the treatment of depression.
The following are three ways that owning a pet could help you ease your depression in the future.
1. A pet can ease loneliness.
When going through a bout of severe depression, you may find that you isolate yourself from others. This social isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness, which can make your depression even worse. Having a pet can help you gain access to the companionship you need without forcing you to interact with other people before you are ready.
In a study conducted by a group of university researchers, students with regular access to a dog reported a 60% decrease in self-reported loneliness levels. Studies like these help prove that having a pet can prevent you from feeling alone, which is one of the symptoms of depression.
2. A pet can promote physical touch.
If you find that battling your depression causes you to experience high levels of stress, then having access to a pet could be just what you need to reduce your depression-related stress. Hugging a pet can significantly reduce cortisol levels within your body. Since cortisol contributes to stress, lowering cortisol levels can help you feel more calm and relaxed.
Scientific research shows that hugging also floods the body with the bonding hormone oxytocin. High levels of oxytocin can promote feelings of security, allowing you to combat the insecurity that can often accompany depression.
3. A pet can promote exercise.
The link between increased levels of activity and a reduction in the symptoms of depression has been documented by researchers for years. One study found that after participating in regular exercise for a 12 week period, 46% of participants reported that their depression symptoms had been reduced by half.
Having a pet encourages you to be more active. Whether it's taking your dog for a walk or letting your cat chase you around the house, you will be able to incorporate more depression-battling exercise into your day when you have the companionship of a pet.
Pets can play a valuable role in helping you manage your depression. Ask your therapist more about this topic. If a pet will be able to help you more easily overcome your depression symptoms in the future, it might be just the thing for you.