Wellness Wednesday: The Impact of Dogs on Mental Health

 

Dogs offer great benefits to our mental health and can improve the world around us. Lauren English, a licensed professional counselor and business development representative with Pinnacle Pointe Hospital, tells us more about the benefits of having a furry friend.

 

Dogs decrease loneliness and depression 

The calming presence of a dog, along with the special bond that dogs offer, can be powerful. The joy a dog brings gives owners something else to focus on instead of staying trapped in a negative headspace. Pets give unconditional love and acceptance just when we need it most.

 

Dogs relieve stress and teach us mindfulness

Dogs are champions of living in the moment. They never hurry, worry or rush about. For that reason, dogs are good at teaching us to take each moment as it comes. Sit back, be playful and engage your senses in what’s happening around you.

 

Dogs offer empathy 

Dogs have a way of knowing how to comfort us and provide empathy. Therapy dogs specialize in this, and are used in counseling to soothe emotions and signal patients to breathe and calm down. Dogs pick up signals that most people miss, and can often be the first to rush to our aid. 

 

Dogs lead us to nature

If you have a dog, you probably take them for walks and find yourself outside and in nature. This offers stress relief and a mood boost because you’re moving around and getting active, and because you’ve been able to enter a fresh space. 

 

Dogs have always been man’s best friends. It’s no surprise that they’re one of humanity’s greatest companions in mental health as well.

 

READ MORE: Wellness Wednesday: Strategies to Increase Self-Esteem in Your Children