More and more people have adopted pets over the last year, as spending time with animals is a research-backed way to lower stress and anxiety. And yet, you don’t need to own a pet to reap the stress-reducing benefits. If pet adoption isn’t an option for you, you can still find comfort in visiting a friend’s pet, visiting the dog park on your lunch break, or taking a trip to a petting zoo over the weekend.
They calm our nerves in high-pressure situations
When we’re feeling particularly stressed and anxious, being in contact with an animal can actually help calm our nervous system. In 2019, a group of scientists decided to test how petting cats and dogs could impact stress hormones among college students. They found that students who interacted with the animals for only 10 minutes already felt less anxious afterward.
They help us feel connected in isolating times
Many of us have felt lonelier than ever this year, as we’ve been physically separated from our friends and family. But in times of isolation, research shows that social interactions with animals can replace interactions with humans in many ways.
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