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  • The mental and physical health advantages of owning pets

    Published on October 10, 2022

    – By Mr. Salil Murthy, Managing Director, Mars Petcare India

    Mental health has become a global concern because of the pressures of modern life and especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Stress, depression, loneliness… poor mental health is almost ubiquitous now. When you have poor mental health, it becomes extremely difficult to express or communicate your emotions to people. At such times, having a furry friend around cheers you up and helps you release the negative energy. Pets are undoubtedly mood boosters. They offer unconditional affection and give you a feeling of companionship that provides reassurance and respite from day-today stress.

    Whether you are a toddler or an elderly person, pets have an abundant ability to give and receive love. It’s no wonder that, when faced with challenging times, pet adoption rises. This was evident during the pandemic when people felt lonely and stressed out. Their pets made them feel better and caring for them uplifted them emotionally.

    Here are a few ways pets can improve your mental health:

    • Give you a sense of purpose: Owning a pet implies a responsibility to look after them. This keeps your mind busy, prevents you from being alone and succumbing to negative thoughts. The task gives you a sense of purpose and reassuring routine, and it keeps your mind engaged.
    • Protection against childhood anxiety: Pets have a significant role to play here. They are our emotional anchors, providing stability to children in troubled times, non-judgmentally and unconditionally. The companionship they offer helps children gain positive coping skills.
    • Boosting children’s self-esteem: Children who grow up with pets tend to be more confident and possess better social skills. They develop a positive self-image and empathy in their relationships.
    • Help you socially: Owning a pet requires you to take them out for their playtime or on regular walks. These fur balls have charisma and tend to grab the attention of people, who walk up to them, and play and interact with them. This helps you meet and speak to different people, make new friends and reduce loneliness.
    • Counter depression: Depression is a major modern health problem, affecting large parts of the population. People use pet therapy to help themselves. It has been shown that interacting with pets reduces the release of stress hormones in our bodies.
    • The well-being of elders: Senior citizens tend to suffer from loneliness, especially those who have lost their partners. Spending quality time with pets alleviates their grief and helps them combat diseases such as dementia. Elderly people have fewer physical activities, and hence playtime with a pet boosts their movements and keeps them fit. Also, having a furry companion at a later stage of life reduces the risk of heart attacks and improves cardiovascular health.

    A pet is like a magic ball of positive energy, which can uplift your mood, provide companionship, help you overcome your breakdowns, provide anti-stress therapy and create memories that last a lifetime. Our pets give us unconditional love and also a sense of purpose, creating a better, more hopeful life.

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