How Your Pet Keeps You Sane

Woman Rubbing Noses with Puppy

Antidepressants, psychotherapy, group therapy, and rehabilitation – they were all created to help us out when our mental health takes a tumble. But many of these interventions are costly and time consuming. All the while, a proven mental health booster is snoozing right at the foot of your bed. There are several reasons why pets aren’t just fun to have around; they’re also great for your mental wellbeing. Like a living mobile game

  • Soothing presence

You’ve always felt that Fido is comforting, but studies have also supported the stress busting effects of animals. Researchers measured the blood pressure and muscle tension (both stress indicators) of adult patients preparing to undergo oral surgery. They found that simply watching fish before the surgery was enough to measurably lower those indicators. That’s why every dentist’s office has an aquarium!

  • Unconditional love

Pets allow us to have interactions with another living creature without the looming shadow of judgment. A study posted on the Johns Hopkins Depression and Anxiety Health Alerts Page describes how a group of nursing home residents reported feeling less lonely after spending time with a dog alone than after spending time with a dog and other residents.

  • Healing power of touch

Research has repeatedly shown how healing is aided by touch. Massages can decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol and the simple act of hugging triggers the release of oxytocin, reducing heart rate and blood pressure. Spending some time stroking your pet has health benefits as well including lowering stress and increasing levels of the “feel good” chemicals.

Your four legged friend may not be able to render serious psychological treatment obsolete, he can certainly give your mental health a boost.

For more on the health benefits of pets:

27 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health

A Fresh Look at Some Relationship “Rules”

relationship_rules

You’ve probably heard some of these so-called “rules” for relationships before. You may have even had them quoted at you in the guise of helpful advice. But how effective are these rules? Should you ever break them? Here are few rules that may deserve breaking.

1. Using “I” instead of “you.” This is actually a great tip. Instead of saying accusing things like “You make me angry when you…” relationship counselors advise expressing your feelings in a less confrontational way by saying things like “I feel angry when you…” However, whether you’re saying you or I, you’re still talking about two separate individuals. Saying “we” is a much better way for couples to work through problems. Focus on what you can do together to solve the problem.

2. Never go to bed angry. The idea behind this is good—you should never give up on finding a resolution to a disagreement—but sometimes you simply don’t have time to work through your anger before bed. Spending a sleepless night won’t help, especially if you have other responsibilities in the morning. If you can’t kiss and make up before bed, think of all the things you love about your partner as you fall asleep, to help you calm down.

3. Be brutally honest about your feelings. Honesty is definitely a good thing, but sometimes there is such a thing as too much honesty. Be sensitive about what comments or complaints your partner can handle at a given moment. Don’t insult them needlessly in the name of honesty.