Why take a pill when you can have a puppy? Why get the negative side effects, when you can cuddle a kitten? Did your boss yell at you at work again? Sit by the fire, take a stretch, and don’t forget the most important thing; a furry friend. What is it about animals that make us feel so loved?

Feline friends are great companions for anxiety. Cats are great for the bonding sense of taking care of something small; a belonging, and a requirement to nurture. They can sense emotion, and with their natural purring, this can give you a meditation to help any work stress.

Drooling dogs can also stimulate a nurturing feeling. But, they also bring on more proven cases of increased social behavior in their human partners. Many children with autism have been more active when interacting with a dog.

Whichever animal you prefer, let’s be honest, it’s a purr-fect heaven.

A study by The Frontiers in Psychology Journal, examined the effects that animals have on human interaction. They hypothesized that time spent with animals increased the levels of oxytocin, the happiness chemical in the brain. From this were correlated examples of behavior such as; smiling more, being more social, trust, empathy, less anger, and lowered blood pressure.”HAI has been investigated for its effects on hormonal indicators of stress such as cortisol, and on neurotransmitters such as epinephrine and norepinephrine. First, studies not employing a specific stressor, then studies including a stressor are reported. These studies provide direct evidence that interaction with a friendly companion animal, […] positively affects endocrine responses as indicated by changes in the levels of cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine, suggesting an attenuation of stress responses via HAI.”

From this interaction with animals, it seems a chemical reaction takes place, lowering the levels of stress. It is similar to when humans hug; this also releases oxytocin. But, the thing that makes animals so great for stress, is, well, you can’t hug a human all day without seeming a bit strange. In addition, you can bring dogs with you, giving you a reason to become social. Many service animals are used specifically to give confidence and this feeling of bonding in something that loves you unconditionally that makes animals such great energy to have around.

And as always, there is just something about animals that makes them so different than people. Is it their adorable fur, their soothing sounds, or could it be something else; a sixth sense? In any case, I know those of you who love your animals, and could never leave them behind. So, if you are feeling under the weather from this constant rain in this so-called winter, give your animal a cuddle. Or for you lonely animal-lovers out there, as always, binge out on animal photos.

 

Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3408111/

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