Article By: Xiaolin Cai
Pets have been shown to help with emotional stress and mental health in general. They are said to be like a family member to some, and there are many reasons why. Animal companions bring happiness and joy into your life and ease the loneliness by providing companionship. Pets will also give you unconditional love and are there to listen and comfort you when you just need someone to talk to. But there is also research that goes beyond what you can physically see.
It has been shown that petting an animal can help lower blood pressure which further helps reduce stress. Pets have also shown to help slow heart rate as well as lower anxiety levels. Having your pet around can also make you more relaxed and help your breathing become more regular. Studies have also shown that pets can help raise levels of serotonin and dopamine which are chemicals in your body that boost your mood and makes you feel happier, as well as releasing oxytocin which is a chemical that reduces stress. It has also shown that they help reduce levels of cortisol which is a stress hormone. Pets have also shown to help better people’s self esteem.
So I have interviewed four people with the same set of questions and the responses were pretty similar.
Former student and class of 2020 graduate Christina Lei has said she definitely thinks her pets help with her emotional stress. She has a total of 7 pets including a dog and 6 fishes. “Bubble is pure, there’s just nothing evil about dogs and he loves me no matter what so he just makes me happy because I know he’ll never judge me or stop loving me.” Christina says. She sees a difference in the increase and decrease of stress when she is without and without her dog because she is more relaxed with her dog. Christina doesn’t think that the more pets you have the less stressed you’ll be because you would have to make sure your attention is divided and you’re not favoring one or the other. So she thinks it’ll make her even more stressed.
Amely Lei, freshman student at Santa Rosa High had said she also thinks pets can help with emotional stress. She has a dog and she thinks that “having something to hold and not judge you while you feel that everyone is against you is a very comforting feeling.” She also sees a difference in the increase and decrease of stress when she is with and without her dog because just looking at him makes her smile. Amely also believes that having more pets doesn’t equal less stress because she thinks it is about the connection you have with your pet not the amount of pets you have.
Gen Garcia, a freshman also believes that pets help with emotional stress. She has a dog and she knows she can always go to him and feels like he understands her. Her dog comforts her and even though he can’t say it she can feel it. Gen also sees a difference since she is more stressed without her dog since she is always with him and is super comfortable and safe around him. So when she isn’t around him she feels weird and she can’t focus and becomes disoriented. She also feels like having more pets would not equal less stress because having a pet is a big responsibility. So having more pets would be a bigger responsibility and add on to the stress.
Last interviewee, freshman student Haylee Hubbard believes that pets help with emotional stress as well. She has a pet cat and she says her cat is pretty calming and when she is stressed her cat will be with her. When she plays with her and pets her it takes her mind off of other stressful things. She doesn’t really see much of a decrease and when she does it is very minor. Haylee also believes that more pets does not mean less stress because if she were to spend time with a pet it would decrease her stress so it would be the same with her other pets. “It doesn;t make a difference for the amount of pets I have,” she said.
So overall I think that pets definitely have a big role in helping to decrease our emotional stress.