My latest vlog - Mental Health & Pets:

Recently I wrote an article about how pets can benefit your mental health. This followed on from a recent research paper that carried out a systematic review of 17 studies involving 1727 pet owners, all of whom had mental health conditions. 

In the conclusion the report says, 'this review suggests that pets provide benefits to those with mental health conditions through the intensity of connectivity with their owners and the contribution they make to emotional support in times of crises together with their ability to help manage symptoms when they arise.' 

Now I like this because I think pets can help to support our mental health even in the absence of having a mental health condition. Pets provide a consistent and close source of calming support and companionship, distraction from unwanted symptoms, a sense of purpose and routine and they offer acceptance without judgment. 

When I was a young teenager, struggling with low self esteem and anxiety, we inherited a cockatiel following the death of a family member (he was called Joe for some reason and he must have been camera shy because I haven't got a photo of him). Many was the time when I would get home from school feeling low because of some (at least perceived) anxious or embarrassing moment I'd endured that day. So I'd get Joe out and we'd sit on the floor and interact (he liked to rip matchsticks to pieces with his beak) and maybe I'd have some sort of conversation with him about my day (I did all the talking!) and I'd invariably feel better for it.

Recently, following a campaign of sustained requests from the kids and being sure they were old enough to care for her, we adopted a pet rabbit who my daughter has named 'Nibbles' and it's really impressed me how involved and purposeful the girls have been in taking care of her. Nibbles makes her first ever video appearance below...

mental health and pets dan regan hypnotherapy ely Watch 'Mental Health & Pets' on You Tube

As you can see in the video, my two certainly love Nibbles. They are out with her first thing every morning before school and right back there after school and last thing. And on the weekend they could be out there for hours watching her, chatting to her and playing with her. They are super excited about the Spring with (hopefully) better weather so they can walk her on her lead around the garden. And it may be just my perception, but I think the girls are generally much happier in themselves from having Nibbles with us (and, as mentioned in the video, soon we will have a friend for Nibbles too...double the fun!).

As I say in the video, it's important to make sure that in order to support your mental health effectively, the pet you have is suitable for your lifestyle and is in an environment where it can flourish. Here in Cambridgeshire we have the awesome charity, Wood Green Animals Charity who can advise about these sort of things and help you to make good decisions in this regard. 

And if you do have a pet, or adopt one, then the systematic review mentioned above suggests that you will be likely to benefit from many positives for your mental health.

To your happiness,

Dan Regan

Hypnotherapy Ely, Newmarket, Skype

Looking for help with a mental health condition? You can learn more about what people have said after working with me or go right ahead and book your complimentary strategy session and let's talk.