Anxiety can be an extremely disruptive, challenging mental health issue. Anxiety comes in a number of forms. These include somewhat transitory situations involving anxiety and more profound, chronic disorders. The more chronic types of anxiety include social anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
One strategy that is proving effective at helping to manage anxiety is introducing a pet into the life of a person suffering from this type of disorder. Pets aid in aiding a person with anxiety in a number of key ways.
A Pet Enjoys Contact with You
Personality differences do exist between individual dogs, cats, and other pets. With that said, a majority of pets, particularly dogs and cats, enjoy contact with their humans. Simply put, they like to cuddle.
Contact with a loving, living being is proven to be helpful in alleviating some of the symptoms of anxiety. Time and again, individuals with anxiety report that even when anxiety has reached the point that it is all consuming, having a pet jump onto a person’s lap and begin to snuggle can be invaluable in helping a person in the midst of an anxiety “attack” come back down.
A Pet Will Listen
There is nothing wrong with talking to your pet. One of the benefits of talking to a dog, cat, of other pet is found in the fact that these companions don’t ask a bunch of difficult or even unnecessary questions. A pet can provide a supportive, loving, nonjudgmental sounding board for a person with an anxiety disorder — with a minimum of “sound.”
A Pet Will Not Try to “Fix You”
A person diagnosed with some type of anxiety avoids contact with people for a number of reasons. For example, they avoid people — and avoid sharing the issues they face — because well-intentioned individuals try to “fix them.” This underscores another benefit associated with a pet and a person with anxiety. A pet never tries to “fix” an individual suffering from anxiety.
A pet will simply be with his or her human companion. Oftentimes, this type of companionship is really all a person needs at a particular point in time.
A Pet is an Excellent, Healthy Distraction
A person afflicted with an anxiety disorder can end up spinning in a viscous circle. An individual with this diagnosis can end up focusing on the symptoms of his or her anxiety, a process that only works to make those very symptoms even worse.
A pet provides a much needed, effective, and healthy distraction. The reality is that when a person is able to focus on something beyond his or her self, he or she feels at least somewhat better about his or her situation.
In addition, caring for a pet is in and of itself a distraction. Providing for the needs of a pet also provides a person, including an individual with anxiety, with a sense of accomplishment.
A Pet is Always Home with You
A pet is a reliable companion. A pet is always home with you. An issue associated with anxiety is loneliness. Knowing that a pet will always be account does assist in alleviating the loneliness that oftentimes is associated with an anxiety disorder.
Spending Time with Your Pet Clears Your Mind
On a related note, a pet provides you a pathway to clear your mind of negative and troubling thoughts. Playing with your pet provides an effective means of escaping stressful and anxiety provoking thoughts. This can be accomplished through activities as simple as taking your pooch for a walk or playing laser tag with your cat. You enjoy a respite, and typically a happy one, in a very simple way.
A Pet Will Not Judge You
A pet may become irritated with you, for a moment. But, a pet will never pass judgment on you. A pet will be at your side no matter what.
A Pet Can Help You Meet New People
A pet can also be helpful in assisting you to meet new people. The simple act of taking your dog for a walk, or to a dog park, opens the door to the possibility of interacting with others, including people who might become fast friends going forward.
Your pet is an automatic conversation starter, the mutual friend between you and the world – and sometimes even a wingman. Hey, if it works, it works.
A Pet Provides Unconditional Love
A pet loves you unconditionally. That is a plain, simple truth. In the grand scheme of things, you are and always will be the center of your pet’s life.
Jessica Kane is a writer for Handicapped Pets, your most trusted source for dog wheelchairs and harnesses.