Pets and Anxiety: National Pet Month

Anxiety Stress and Panic Attacks

Pets and Anxiety - Hypnotherapy Ely


Pets and Anxiety: National Pet Month

It’s National Pet Month and an opportunity to celebrate responsible pet ownership as well as the many benefits of having a pet as your companion. To be honest I didn’t actually know it was national pet month until I had an email trying to sell me pet insurance to cover my dog or cat (I don’t have a dog or a cat). Yet having a pet is something I have covered before because of the potential mental health benefits that come with having a little companion in your life.

We have two lovely rabbits at home and with the weather improving it’s my favourite time with them. Now that the weather is generally drier, we can let the two of them run out and about all around our garden. They eat the grass, sniff everything, hide behind plant pots and generally just seem to have a lovely time. During the fun times, the rabbits belong to all of us in the house and then as soon as they need clearing out they become my daughters responsibility! It is lovely thought to see them munching and running their way around the garden for hours at a time.

As well as the general enjoyment of pet ownership, pets can have a positive impact upon your mental health and sense of well-being too. With regard to pets and anxiety, your pet can bring you companionship and a focus outside your own thinking. Being responsible for your pet means you have to keep busy and get stuff done (such as exercise, cleaning, feeding, checking, sharing time and so on). The connection and emotional bond you have with your pet can help you to manages aspects of your anxiety and can support your mental health.


Mental Health, Pets and Anxiety 

One of the things I love about having the rabbits is just watching them run around the garden doing their happy binky jumps. They are such interesting characters that I can almost forget about everything else and any other thoughts as I just enjoy them doing their thing.

When it comes to pets and anxiety, as with many approaches to interrupting anxious overthinking and feelings, being more aware of things outside you in the moment takes you out of your own head for a bit. Anxiety draws you further and further into your own worst case scenarios and catastrophising. You can get caught in the ceaseless spiral of anxious thoughts racing through your own mind. Being more outside of your own head can give you some much needed time off from all of that as you engage with your pet.

Spending time with your pet and just the connection that exists between you can provide some much needed emotional support and there can be a sense of no matter what else goes on, your pet will always be there for you and will always love you.

Research has shown that pets provide benefits to your mental health and can help with dealing with conditions such as anxiety, stress and lowness. The intensity and strength of your connection and bond can bolster you and give a sense of meaning and purpose to your day. And your pet can provide emotional support that helps you to manage symptoms of anxiety when they arise.

The psychological benefits from pet ownership includes how they can provide a consistent and close source of calming support and companionship, they can provide distraction from upsetting symptoms, bring benefits from providing purpose and routine, and there is the beneficial perception that pets accept their owners without judgement. All of these things we can benefit from, whether or not you struggle with a mental health condition such as anxiety.

Before  you rush out and get yourself a pet to help you feel better it is very important, perhaps obviously, to make sure that you and your prospective pet are well matched. When considering a pet you also need to ensure they match your own individual circumstances. in fact, I’d strongly suggest heading over to your nearest animal welfare shelter and having a chat with the staff there before you make any decisions (but be warned, all the animals they have there will look so lovely that you may have an urge to just adopt them all!). There are many benefits from pet ownership for your mental health, yet it may not be right for everyone and you need to chose a pet that will bring you the kind of positive benefits you are looking for.

I’ve also covered the positive mental health benefits form pet ownership in these earlier articles:

Mental Health & Pets – How Pets Can Benefit Your Mental Health

Mental Health and The Positive Impact of Pets…And Meet Frank!

Mental Health and Pets…And Sad News of Nibbles the Rabbit

This national pet month, do take a moment to be happy and grateful for all the positives that come into your life as a result of your pet being there.

Whilst having a pet can help with anxiety, it’s perhaps unlikely to be the only support you need to tackle those anxious thoughts and feelings. There are lots of other things you can, and should, be doing to support your mental health, deal with your anxiety and to help you feel more calm, confident and happy. Do take a look through the hundreds of articles here on my website all about aspects of dealing with anxiety and how to feel better. And if you need a bit of help to support you, then please do get in touch and let’s talk about how we can work together to help you you to overcome your anxiety and feel better.

To your health and happiness, 

Dan Regan

Award Winning Hypnotherapy for Anxiety Ely & Newmarket


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