4 Ways Your Dog Can Help Reduce Your Anxiety
Whether you have generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety, or another form, it can be terrifying and difficult to live with. Other people are not always the greatest comfort, but your dog is always there to help you through it. Often, they make a better companion and assistant through these difficult times than a person ever would, and in this article, we explore four of the ways in which they achieve this.
#1 A Good Dose of Oxytocin
When you sit down and stroke your dog, your body gets a massive oxytocin boost, and this hormone is responsible for quite a bit, including the reduction of stress and anxiety, lowering your heart rate, and even your blood pressure. The petting process actually leaves you feeling a little calmer and more focused, in addition to relieving feelings of fear and anxiety.
#2 Letting You Know You are Safe
An anxiety attack can sometimes manifest itself in the worst ways. You are convinced you heard someone upstairs or in the garden and are suddenly filled with an uncontrollable panic. Little things can become big issues and cause a lot of distress. If something is actually wrong, your dog will get up to investigate or bark, and so when you see them calmly laying beside you; you realise that it’s just your mind playing tricks.
#3 Being There to Talk to
We all need someone to talk to, but our human friends can get tired of the same anxiety fears and complaints. Your dog will always be there for you to talk to without judgement, and they won’t leave you just because you want to vent and complain for a while. It can be a nice change to speak with someone that cannot talk back and won’t tell others what you said. Plus, you can cuddle them while you talk and they will lie there quietly to listen without offering advice, or criticism for your actions.
#4 Getting You Outside to Walk
While running and other sports can make feelings of anxiety worse, there is not much better than a long walk with your best friend. Going for a walk can help to calm the mind and boost your mood, providing a peaceful distraction while you are out and about. It is something that both you and your dog need. There is even the chance to meet other dog walkers, giving you social practice and helping you to feel a little less anxious when confronted with social situations.
We hope that this has helped you to discover the ways in which your dog is able to help you through even the most difficult times, and if you want to read more about the ways in which dogs are able to aid in mental health, you can read a detailed guide on it here. Dogs are a fantastic companion if you are suffering from anxiety, and they always seem to know exactly what to do. Next time you feel an attack coming, take a moment to give your dog a hug and snuggle up together.