Are you on a healing journey? Or, have you decided to make healthy living a top priority? If so, going through it is so much easier when you know you’re not alone. Having the support of friends, family, and others going on similar journeys is important.
But, perhaps the most important supporter of your journey is standing right at your feet.
Your pets can help you to live a healing and healthy lifestyle
to the fullest. Multiple studies have been done on the benefits of having an animal in your house. They can reduce stress, boost your mood, and make you feel calm in times of turmoil.
So, how can your four-legged friend promote healing and healthy living in your life? If you don’t currently have a pet, what should you know before adopting one?
They Help With Healthy Habits
One of the best ways to make healthy living a priority is to change your habits
. The most basic (and easiest) things you can adjust in your life are:
- Sleeping patterns
- Your diet
- Activity levels
Pets can help with all three, but the most obvious is how they can improve your activity levels. Dogs need to be exercised every day. They should get anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours of physical activity. You should be a part of that activity – at least as much of it as possible.
Start with going on a morning walk each day. Simply being out in nature and moving your body can help you to feel calm and give you an energy boost. Working something like that into a daily routine is also a wonderful way to promote healing and feel better about your habits.
Once you feel comfortable with your regular activities, consider going on more adventures with your furry friend. Take a weekend off and go camping
so you can enjoy hikes together. You can experience new things with your furry companion while ensuring their safety by working on training and having the right supplies for them. A dog that goes camping should already know basic obedience commands, but a trip to the woods or the desert gives you a chance to work on advanced skills, like a return command when off-leash.
Because you’re more active with a pet, you can enjoy better sleep. Getting an adequate amount of exercise can allow you to sleep soundly for longer periods. It’s a healthy habit to get into
since sleeping helps to repair your muscles and recharge your body for the next day.
You may have heard the saying “a tired dog is a happy dog,” and the same goes for people. Let your pet be your accountability partner to make healthier life choices, and you can go to sleep each night feeling fully satisfied and content with your habits.
They Can Reduce Your Stress Right Away
Part of the healing process involves reducing stress. There are plenty of techniques that can help you, including meditation and mindfulness. But, your pet can also be a valuable asset in calming you down.
Any pet can boost your mental health. Studies have shown that simply petting an animal can significantly lower your stress levels and your blood pressure. Research has also determined that pet owners:
- Are less likely to suffer from depression
- Have lower blood pressure in stressful situations
- Have lower indicators of heart disease
The benefits of having a pet become even greater for certain groups, such as people over the age of 60 or those with chronic illnesses. Pets can help to boost the levels of serotonin in your brain just by petting them or playing with them. No matter what your current situation might be, you’ll find instant stress relief in the companionship of a pet.
How to Pick Out the Perfect Companion
If you already have a pet in your home, now would be a good time to give them some attention.
However, if you haven’t yet “taken the plunge,” there are a few things you should consider before adopting.
Having a pet is a huge commitment. It might be the best commitment you ever make, but it’s still an incredible responsibility. With that in mind, it’s not the right option for everyone. If you’re ready to start living out your healing and healthy living journey, a pet can help. But, you need to be willing to make sacrifices for them, too.
If you’re considering getting a puppy
, ask yourself the following:
- Are you ready to introduce an animal into your home?
- Is your house “puppy-proof”?
- Do you have time to train them?
- Do you have time to socialize them?
Getting a dog, cat, or any other pet can be a life-changing decision. It’s okay to think about it for quite some time before making your final decision. But, don’t talk yourself out of it for no reason. A pet can become your best friend overnight if you’re open to it. That means they can be your instant support system right away, so you don’t have to take another step on your healing and healthy living journey alone.