Having a dog can have fantastic benefits for your mental health. Caring for a dog is a big responsibility, but it’s also a wonderful way to enrich the quality of your life and make your home a happier place to be. Here are a few reasons why owning a dog supports your mental well-being.
Improve Your Physical Health
Making sure that your dog gets enough exercise is an important part of taking care of a dog. Dogs’ energy levels vary based on several different factors like their breed, age, and overall health. To help your dog stay active, you’re probably going to be staying active in the process. It’s a great motivator to stay in shape.
You want to be able to keep up with your dog’s energy levels, and doing fun things together strengthens your bond. With a dog, you’ll be walking more when you head outside for a stroll around the block or take a trip to your local bark park. You could also try more physical activities like going for a hike or even a swim if you’ve got a water-loving breed. These are the types of activities that can give your energy levels a boost, help you maintain a healthy body weight, and maintain good joint mobility.
When you’re feeling kind of low mentally, you don’t really feel like working out. Having a dog as a companion helps you shake off fatigue and keeps you on track to meet your fitness goals. You can have the extra drive that you need to take on new goals and challenges like a group fitness class or try the 75 Hard program.
Spend More Time Outdoors
Staying cooped up inside all day every day really isn’t really great for your mental health. It’s isolating, and too much time indoors deprives you of fresh air and sunshine. Dogs love being outdoors, so taking care of a dog prompts you to spend more of your free time outside.
Taking some time to enjoy nature and each passing season is important. When life gets busy or you’re feeling down, you might not be making these things a priority. However, spending time outdoors is great for your mental health, and you shouldn’t forgo it altogether no matter what else is happening in your life. With an adventure buddy, you’ll be excited about spending more time outside and it could have a phenomenal impact on your mental being.
Give and Get More Love
Dogs aren’t just pets. For most owners, dogs are like a member of the family. Whether you’ve already got a full house or you’re on your own, having a dog makes your family bigger. You’ll have another amazing soul to love, and your dog is going to return that love to you tenfold.
When you and your dog look at one another lovingly, both of your brains release oxytocin, which is a hormone that’s commonly associated with feelings of intense love and happiness. Regular doses of oxytocin will help you stay in a positive frame of mind.
Learn From Your Dog
You may have heard it said before that dogs are the best people. While dogs aren’t actually people, of course, it’s certainly true that they embody all of the qualities that we attribute to the best people. They’re intelligent, loyal, and kind. They’re always enthusiastic about what’s happening, and they’re eager to share that enthusiasm with you.
Having an animal that is always happy can make you see things the same way. When you see your dog reveling in simple pleasures like basking in the sunlight and looking super content or examining something fascinating it sees with wonder and excitement, you can remember to find joy and awe in the world around you.
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/U3pTpgVw3dE
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