Animal Interaction Can Decrease Stress — by Paul Denamiel

Pet Therapy & Personal Health. With stress rates among Americans increasingly exponentially, the emotional and psychological impact of stress can be extremely detrimental to both the mind and body.

However, despite current stress-related matters, experts claim that interacting with animals can have a multitude of positive health effects from decreasing one’s overall blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health, to lowering stress and anxiety related symptoms.

Paul Denamiel, a prominent New York City chef, claims that spending time with his dog Jojo, short for Josephine, offered a significant level of companionship and was a positive influence on his mental health. Paul states that stress can interfere with relationships and career goals, however, taking the time to engage with animals can improve one’s overall health and well-being.

Positive Side Effects: Decreased Stress & Blood Pressure

Interacting with animals has a significant therapeutic effect as playing with a pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which have a calming and relaxing effect on the body. In fact, petting, hugging, and touching a loving animal can soothe individuals when they are exhibiting signs of high stress or anxiousness. Similarly, studies show that those who suffer abnormal heart rhythms who also happen to be pet owners, typically live longer than those who have similar health issues but do not interact with a pet on a daily basis.

Alongside conventional medicine, doctors are also initiating ‘pet therapy’ into clinical settings as the interaction, particularly with dogs can lower the risk of heart disease and reduce triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Pet owners over the age of 65 make approximately 30 percent fewer visits to a doctor’s office that those without pets and suffer fewer heart attacks.

Pet Owners are Active

Owning a pet can be a great stimulus for healthy activity as pets need constant attention, whether it is taking the dog out for a walk or picking up toys, it is difficult for pet owners to not constantly be moving. The Journal of Physical Activity & Health found that dog owners were more likely to reach their fitness goals and commit to their health plans than non pet owners. Paul Denamiel claims that Josephine was a way for him to remain fit and with a busy schedule it is important to set aside the time to exercise.

Pets Allow Individuals To Be Social

Taking a dog for a walk often helps individuals who have shy tendencies to be less isolated and engage in conversation with others. Stopping to talk to another dog owner creates a social interaction and can ease individuals into a conversation.

According to Paul Denamiel, pets are a commitment and a large responsibility, however, may be the perfect anecdote for a healthy lifestyle.