When life gets hard, it’s important to find healthy coping mechanisms that allow you to reduce your stress and improve your overall mental health. However, healthy coping mechanisms are myriad, and not everything may work all the time. One coping mechanism you may have heard of is having a pet around to help you deal with things. But does this actually work? Yes, and here’s how it may help you.
Animals have been proven to support your mental health.
If you struggle with depression, anxiety, or everyday stress, getting a pet may be a way to improve your quality of life. Pets have been shown to reduce stress, help people feel less lonely if they’re not getting enough social support, and improve the mood of their owners. For some, pets can even serve as a reason to push themselves to work on their treatment and ensure that they’re giving their pets the best care possible. However, it’s important to note that this shouldn’t be your only motivation for getting a pet. Pets are a major responsibility, and it’s important that you’re prepared for it. If you’re not ready to get a pet at this point in time, you could also try being around a therapy pet from time to time.
Still, it’s important to seek out help from a mental health professional.
While pets can help you feel better, they’re not a replacement for therapy. For example, if you’re dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of a traumatic event, a pet won’t be able to provide you with the support you need to eliminate negative thoughts, flashbacks, and nightmares associated with your traumatic experience. Only psychotherapy can do this. As such, it’s important to look for trauma therapy that’s designed to get right to the heart of the issues and help you heal in a much shorter period of time. No matter what type of trauma you have undergone, there’s support out there so that you can get help in a stress-free, safe environment. Now’s the time to enlist the help of a trauma therapist in a retreat format that can give you the effective treatment you deserve.
This holds true for any other mental illness that you may have. If you’re someone who has clinical depression or a panic disorder, cognitive behavioral therapy or exposure therapy and medication can help you work toward a healthier, happier version of yourself. Put simply, it’s about getting the right treatment plan and leveraging coping mechanisms to alleviate symptoms or prevent future episodes.
Do you still want to make a pet a part of your life?
If you still want to welcome a pet into your life, making sure that you have everything prepared ahead of time is important to get them off to a healthy start. One choice you need to make early on is whether or not you’re going to buy or adopt an animal. Adopting an animal is often the best way to go, as it allows you to save a shelter animal. However, it all comes down to personal preference and will depend on what your current home and financial situation is. You should also make sure you have all the amenities, like a cardboard cat house that they can call home immediately. Cardboard cat houses are both functional and eco-friendly, making a difference in the world and on your wallet. If your cat is playful, they’re sure to love their home once you welcome them into your own.
Then, you will want to stock up on food (along with food and water dishes), treats and snacks, and accessories like waste bags and other items that your pet will inevitably need. When you have everything in place, you’re ready to take your pet home!
Pets can be very helpful in the treatment process and help you deal with stressful events more successfully. If you want to own a pet for both personal and mental health reasons, the guide above will help you better understand what they do and how you can prepare to bring one home.