Why Interacting with Animals is Good for Your Mental Health

If I’ve had a hard day or feel a bit down, something that always lifts me is seeing my gorgeous pets when I get home. The interaction I have with my one cat, two dogs and seven chickens never fails to put a smile on my face. In fact, numerous studies are now showing that interaction with animals is good for your mental health. I wholeheartedly agree, and here’s why.

Animals display unconditional love. The world isn’t always a good place and we all go through difficult periods in our lives. However, the love received from an animal doesn’t have any conditions attached. Regardless of how you are feeling, animals are always there for you.

Interacting with animals is an excuse to get outside more. Whether it’s walking dogs, feeding outdoor animals or going to a farm to visit some, interaction with animals will nearly always involve going outside at some point. This is hugely beneficial as it provides an opportunity to get some fresh air, some exercise, and a top up of Vitamin D. It’s also a chance to be surrounded by nature, which can be very calming. This provides a range of physical and mental health benefits.

Having pets can reduce help to reduce anxiety and feeling of isolation. Animal therapy is growing in popularity. Only recently I saw a feature on ‘This Morning’ that involved therapy chickens. They helped a lady to feel less anxious and lifted her mood. I must admit that although my chickens haven’t received any therapy training, interacting with them certainly helps to maintain my positivity.

Animals are great listeners. In fact, having a pet is like having a great therapist. You can tell them anything and not only will they sit and listen; they’ll also maintain your confidentiality. You can vent to your animals without any kind of comeback on you. Of course, your animals won’t be able to reply with words, but they can definitely be a source of comfort when you need it.

So, my advice is to interact with animals as much as possible to help maintain a healthy mind. You may want to consider getting a pet if you don’t have much interaction with animals at the moment. If that’s not an option, you could volunteer at an animal shelter or ask to look after a pet that a friend or family member has. Many different types of animals can benefit from your interaction, and you’ll soon find that you benefit from it too.

By Daniel Browne - @DanielHypno