The Mental Health Benefits of Rescuing a Pet

Getting a rescue pet might be just what your mental health needs.

2020 has been rough on all of us. Whether we are suffering from the loneliness of social isolation, or the craziness of being around our family 24/7, this year has been particularly difficult in terms of mental health.

Adding a member to your family is one way to remedy this, and by ‘member’ I mean rescue pet. There are plenty of pets that need forever homes, and it doesn’t matter whether you live alone or with family, taking on the responsibility of rescuing a pet can bring a lot of joy and meaning into your life. Here are a few of the healthy benefits of pets:

Lower stress. There is a reason therapy pets exist. The very act of being around an animal lowers blood pressure, and reduces stress.

Help self-esteem. Caring for another life can be one of the most rewarding things you do, as any parent can tell you. Pets can help build both your confidence and self-esteem.

Sense of purpose. Having trouble getting up in the morning? A pet that needs to urinate may be the answer you are searching for. On a base level, you are responsible for keeping your pet alive, which can provide a much needed sense of purpose during these trying times.

Habit building. You can actually build a schedule around your pet’s bathroom times. If you are someone who has never been great at keeping a schedule, you should know that schedules are just habits, and you only have to do something 33 times in a row to build a habit. So within the first 33 days of having a pet, you might be able to change your entire life!

READ MORE: Five Reasons to Take Your Kids on a Mental Health Hike

Relationship building. Relationships between humans and animals are typically a great example for relationships in general. We tend to be compassionate, caring, and understanding with our pets, whereas we might be more harsh, impatient, and angry with our human loved ones. We can learn a lot from our relationships with pets, and apply that kind of thinking in all our other relationships.

That being said, a disclaimer: Rescue pets often come from other homes where they endured abuse, neglect, or trauma. Not all rescue pets are created equal, so the most important thing to remember is to be patient, and remember that your new rescue pet needs you as much as you need them.

Published by karenmsutton

HSS Orthopaedic surgeon in sports medicine | Mother of 4 amazing children | Team physician for USA Women's Lacrosse | ACL injury expert

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