Dog owners know that spending time with your furry friends can make your day better. It's one of the reasons we love them.
Researchers have studied relationships and found in scientific studies that playing with your canine companion can help fight the symptoms of anxiety and depression by boosting your mood and improving your quality of life.
In case you needed another yet another great reason to spend time with your dog (or maybe convince your boss that you can bring Fido to work), here are 5 scientifically-proven ways dogs are good for your mental health.
1. Boost Serotonin Levels
According to scientists at the University of Missouri-Columbia, petting your dog stimulates the release of serotonin, a hormone that helps fight depression and anxiety.
2. You Have Companionship
Studies show that caring for dogs (and other animals) can help make us feel needed and wanted. This social support is a proven antidote against one of the biggest triggers of depression: loneliness.
3. You Get More Exercise
Dogs force us out of the house to go on walks, hikes and runs. These activities help dog owners meet daily exercise requirements, which in turn help ward off depression and anxiety, according to a study from the University of Portsmouth in the UK.
4. You Meet New People
A study from Harvard University shows that dogs can be a great social lubricant for their owners, helping them start new friendships. Because dog owners frequently stop and talk to each other on walks, they combat loneliness, which as mentioned earlier, is one of the biggest causes of depression.
5. They Help You Create Routine
Dogs require a regular feeding and exercise schedule. Having a consistent routine keeps dogs balanced and calm—something that actually works for humans too! According to experts at the Mental Health Center, routines can help people living with mental health challenges like depression and anxiety by giving them structure in what can feel like an otherwise chaotic life.