How Animals Can Help You Heal

Animals are known to have healing properties, and they can even help you heal your mental health. They can also be great companions, reducing anxiety and stress, easing loneliness, and increasing happiness and positive moods.

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How Animals Can Help You Heal
4 Min Read March 24th, 2023

Studies show that spending time with animals can reduce blood pressure and boost the production of feel-good hormones like dopamine. 

They also lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increase a type of antibody called immunoglobulin A, which increases your immune system's ability to fight infections.

How Animals Can Improve Mental Health

Studies have shown that interacting with pets can increase self-esteem and social interaction among people with chronic or severe mental health conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. 

Therapy animals are now used in hospitals and psychiatric rehabilitation programs as part of psychosocial treatment.

Pets can provide unconditional love and affection, which can help you overcome your negative thoughts and feelings. They are also a great source of physical exercise.

Just looking at cats playing can positively affect your state of mind. Besides bringing you joy, dogs will also affect your overall physical and mental health and well-being. 

Dogs can be a great help for individuals who are recovering from PTSD. They are proven to reduce symptoms of PTSD, such as sleep disturbances, anxiety, and irritability.

Another study found that children with autism spectrum disorder were more relaxed and less anxious when they spent 10 minutes playing with guinea pigs in the classroom. This was because the guinea pigs offered unconditional acceptance and a way to build social connections.

Animal-assisted therapy has been shown to increase the adherence to Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy sessions and improve patient quality of life. 

Pets are also becoming a common part of the treatment of terminally ill patients since they are known to decrease stress and improve mood.

Benefits of Having Pets

Having a pet, whether it's a cat or dog, can be very beneficial to your health. Aside from the obvious benefits of companionship, pets are known to help improve heart health, decrease stress, and even help children with their emotional and social skills.

While dogs and cats are often the most popular, pets of all types can positively impact your health. Animals provide a sense of purpose, contributing to mental health and overall well-being. 

They also encourage exercise and help you soak up vitamin D, which plays a significant role in strengthening your immune system.

Research shows that people who have pets are less likely to develop depression than those who do not. They are also less likely to suffer from high blood pressure and other heart disease-related conditions.

They are better at dealing with stress and anxiety than those without a pet. Spending time with a pet or simply cuddling a fluffy friend can boost the production of oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that reduces stress and anxiety.

Having a pet can also be a great way to reduce work-related stress and anxiety. Studies show that people who work with animals are less stressed and have lower cortisol levels. This can also help you stay focused at work and perform your job more effectively.

Finding the Right Animal for You and Your Family

Adding a new pet to your family can be a great way to provide a source of unconditional love and companionship, but it's also an important decision that requires careful consideration. 

The right animal for you and your family depends on several factors, including your lifestyle and budget.

Before making a final decision, make sure you discuss the options with your partner, children, and other members of the household. This is especially important if you're considering getting a larger animal, like a dog or cat. 

Ask everyone in the house how they feel about the idea and if they have any specific requirements or concerns.

Another consideration is the size of your home and how much time you have to spend on the pet. If you live in a small apartment, it may be more practical to get a smaller animal, such as a cat, that doesn't require a lot of attention.

Choosing the right animal for you and your family will help you get the most out of owning a pet. Before making a final decision, talking to your veterinarian and other animal experts is also helpful. They can advise you on the best types of animals to suit your lifestyle and needs. 

Moreover, they can ensure that your new furry friend will receive proper health care and preventive services. By doing your research and choosing the right animal, you can ensure that your new pet will be happy and healthy for many years to come.

Ways to Connect with Nature through Animals

Connecting with nature through animals can be a great way to improve your mental health. It can also be a fun and entertaining way to get involved with your community.

Whether you love birds, cats, or horses, there are plenty of ways to connect with these animals. You can spend time watching them, learning about their behavior, or even getting involved with animal rescues.

Another great way to connect with nature through animals is by visiting a local park. The natural surroundings will help you relax and rejuvenate your body.

You can also visit a local garden to see the plants and flowers that grow there. This will allow you to see what types of flowers bloom at different times, what kinds of leaves and stems are in season, and how they interact with each other.

For children, learning about the animals that live in your area is another great way to connect with nature. Kids will have a greater appreciation for the different species that inhabit their area and may be more likely to want to protect them.

You can also encourage your child to ask questions about what they are seeing in the wild. This will give them the opportunity to think about their experiences and learn from them. The more questions that they ask, the more their senses will be activated, and they will become more aware of the world around them.

Final Word

Animals can provide an invaluable source of solace and comfort during times of hardship, offering companionship, unconditional love, and physical contact. 

Whether through direct contact or simply sharing in the same space as animals, there are countless ways that animals can help to bring healing into your life. From therapeutic riding programs for children with disabilities to visits from therapy dogs in hospitals, to the unconditional love of a pet at home, animals can be a source of healing for people of all ages. 

By taking the time to appreciate and nurture the animal-human connection, we can create powerful opportunities for growth, self-discovery, and healing.

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Editor's Note

Pets can be an invaluable source of comfort and companionship for older adults and those in long-term care. Research has shown that interacting with animals can positively impact both physical and mental health. For example, petting a dog or cat can lower blood pressure and reduce stress and anxiety. This can be especially beneficial for older adults dealing with health issues or feelings of loneliness and isolation.

In long-term care facilities, pets can provide a sense of familiarity and homeyness in an otherwise institutional environment. Many facilities have programs that bring therapy dogs or other animals to visit residents, which can be a welcome distraction from the monotony of daily life. In addition to providing social interaction, pets can also encourage physical activity, as taking a dog for a walk or playing with a cat can provide gentle exercise.

Pets can be a source of purpose and responsibility for older adults who may be struggling with feelings of loss or lack of purpose. Caring for a pet can give seniors a sense of meaning and fulfillment and help them feel needed and valued. Overall, the benefits of pets for older adults and those in long-term care are numerous and should not be underestimated.

Whether it's a furry friend at home or a therapy animal in a care facility, pets can make a significant difference in the lives of older adults.

Being Prepared

The object is to be prepared before the consequences of aging affects you, yoru family, and yoru finances. The cost of long-term health care is exploding nationwide. Without planning those future costs will be our responsibility or your loved ones will become caregivers. Pets alone are not a solution for the costs and burdens of aging and future declining health.

This is where an affordable Long-Term Care Insurance policy comes into play. When you own a policy you will have guaranteed tax-free resources to pay for your choice of quality care services, including care at home. Even a small policy can greatly benefit you and your loved ones.

Professional Help is Key to Finding Affordable Options

Several top-rated insurance companies offer long-term care solutions. Each insurance company has its own underwriting standards, and premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. 

A qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist will match you with the best company to save you money. A specialist will put together accurate quotes from all the top companies based on your age, health, family history, and other factors.

Accurate Answers to Your Questions About Long-Term Care Planning

LTC NEWS has many tools and resources. These resources can help you in your research as you prepare for your future retirement and plan for the costs and burdens of aging and declining health.

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