We adore our four legged friends here at Little Soap HQ! We hope to bring you lots of tips, advice and information on owning and caring for a dog, alongside our usual musings on eco living, green beauty and all things food- healthy, of course! This week we’re looking at three very good reasons why owning a dog can improve your emotional wellbeing. Read on to find out more…
Dogs provide us with a sense of purpose
So many dog owners tell us that when things are really tough in life, the one constant is their dog. Always there by their side and sometimes just that presence is enough to lift spirits during adversity. More than that though, having a dog to care for, that is totally reliant on us to do our very best for them is actually very positive for mental health. A sense of purpose, a reason for actually getting up and out of bed on the very bad days, is such a powerful thing.
Researchers have found that the boding hormone, oxytocin helps owners and dogs to feel a sense of love, companionship and calm simply by performing the most basic of care duties. Stroking a dog can have HUGE emotional benefits! Likewise, getting out into the fresh air to walk your dog can be very therapeutic, providing you with time and space to think, to enjoy moving your body and breathe in the fresh air. And while you’re exercising your dog, you’re strengthening your bond too.
Dogs can ease anxiety and self esteem
If you struggle at times with anxiety and feelings of low self esteem, owning a dog can do wonders to help alleviate symptoms on those days when it seems overwhelming. Studies have actually found that when a person interacts with a dog, their cortisol (stress hormone) levels drop and their body is flooded with feel good hormones that will improve mood and relieve stress overall. And the best part? While cortisol only drops in the human body, all of those wonderful happy hormones are triggered in your dog too. Who needs a better reason to stroke their dog right now?
On top of this, studies have also found that playing with a dog can help to significantly reduce feelings of fear and anxiety, and will work towards reducing feelings of low self worth too. You can read the full and fascinating report here. Ultimately, trust us when we tell you that building trust, respect and mutual affection for a dog is always going to be a good thing- and if it works to improve your emotional wellbeing on a daily basis, then that’s good enough for us.
Dogs help us to be present every day
In a fast paced world with kids, jobs, responsibilities and other stresses, it’s so easy to get caught up in what we need to do to get through the day. On top of that we have pressures from the media and social media to look a certain way, perform a certain way, have certain things. We’re told we need to consume, we need to be better, we need to strive to achieve the sometimes impossible. Where does this leave us? Stressed out, unfocused and distracted? Yep.
The thing is, when you have a dog by your feet with that look in it’s eye, you are literally forced to be present. It can be awfully calming to have a focused task that you can give your all to, be it taking your dog for a walk, grooming them, or simply changing their water bowl. Make each action mean something, and train your brain to become more mindful of other every day tasks too. Focus on what you are doing, right here and right now- the effects of simply being more present can be amazing.
Aren’t dogs amazing?