Many studies have confirmed the positive contribution of animals to our well-being. There is an important link between our mental and physical health and animals, therefore, it is crucial to ask how it works.
1. Hormonal control
Interaction with an animal stimulates the production of serotonin and dopamine - two important neurotransmitters, which transmit distinct chemical signals. While serotonin is often linked to feelings of happiness, dopamine is linked to motivation and productivity. Low levels of these neurotransmitters are associated with many mental and physical health issues such as depression leading to poor activity. Another important hormone that these little ones help release is oxytocin, which is also known as the "love hormone." This hormone is usually released during low intensity stimulation of the skin, such as caresses, hugs, etc. Research also shows that the simple act of petting your pet helps reduce cortisol, “the stress hormone.”
The company of an animal helps reduce feelings of loneliness. Their constant loyalty and affection can boost our comfort. They also help build external relationships. You can't deny that a simple walk in the park with your little one is sure to draw a crowd. Socializing is a key part of life because we are, after all, social beings. There are many benefits to just socializing like a confidence boost . As simple as it sounds, it is overall, very important.
Animals have their needs. By meeting their needs, you are also meeting yours in the process. This is an opportunity to implicitly integrate healthy habits into your own routine. For example, regular walks in the park with them, especially for dog owners, have been shown to reduce blood pressure and levels of triglycerides and cholesterol (i.e basically fats).
High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when the pressure against the walls of your arteries is enough to entice health problems like heart disease. This condition is often caused in response to stress or low physical activity, which is minimized with the help of your little friend, as previously mentioned.
4. In response to special needs
Animals are also capable of meeting particular needs. For example, ADHD, an acronym for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a mental illness in which the person has difficulty concentrating and controlling themselves due to differences in the brain. Those with the illness have a hyperactive trait, which is most seen in children. A pet may be suitable for them because it allows them to release extra energy whether it be by playing or running around with the pet. Additionally, most dogs are trained to discern low blood sugar levels by smell before the symptom becomes worse. However, it is important not to confuse these service animals with normal pets; they are simply working animals that have been specifically trained to execute tasks for people with disabilities.
Ultimately, animals–from working animals to pets–help maximize your mental and physical health in a variety of ways. They have proven that they do a great job and continue to do so.