As a longtime pet owner, I can attest to the great comfort and companionship my pets have provided over the years, but researchers have also found that pets can be hugely beneficial to your mental health and overall wellbeing.
There has long been evidence that people struggling with mental disorders such as bipolar and schizophrenia have sought comfort in animals who provide an emotional connection that they may not otherwise get from their friends and family.
But now researchers also have noted the benefits of pet ownership for everyone, not just those struggling with significant health challenges.
Psychologists at Miami University and St. Louis University conducted three studies to examine the potential benefits of pet ownership among those they identified as “everyday people.” The studies found that pet owners had greater self esteem, were more physically fit, had more social networks and tended to be less preoccupied than those without pets.
Pet ownership was also connected to a sense of belonging and meaning in their lives, which has been found to reduce depression and anxiety.