The healing touch of animals and pets- furry partners in the journey of emotional healing!

What is emotional healing?

Anxiety and melancholy are examples of complex, possibly challenging emotions that are common to the human experience. But even knowing this might not make dealing with these emotions any easier. People might follow a variety of different courses as they learn to recover from traumatic experiences or negative attitudes. It might be beneficial to understand how to deal with both your emotional suffering and physical trauma while you travel the healing path.

We may accept the events and situations that have transpired in our life via emotional healing. Once old emotional obstacles have been removed via emotional healing strategies, we are able to not only assimilate these encounters into our life but also allow for emotional growth and development on a broader, more powerful spiritual level.

In order to thoroughly settle a past experience and prevent any more emotional reactions, emotional healing entails integrating the broken elements of our soul. Through emotional healing, the traumatic event from the past will no longer have any influence on our thoughts, feelings, or emotions. Instead, limiting thought patterns will be disproved, and a deeper, soul-level transformation will happen.

Figure out the thin line between facts and feelings by watching our video.

Strategies for enhancing emotional healing

There are many strategies to help you speed up the progress of emotional healing. Some of them are:

  1. Increase Your Friendship Circle 

It’s crucial to have a network of family and friends to lean on, advises Dr. Gardere. “You need someone to pay heed to you if you need to vent about your troubles such that you realize you’re not the only one regardless of what it is,” said the speaker.

Read Blog: The benefits of social connections and techniques to enhance the same by clicking here!

  1. Improve Your Mood and Reduce Anxiety by Moving More

Any enjoyable sort of exercise will do. According to Gardere, “regular exercise serves as an excellent companion for persons who are on medicine.” For those with mild to severe depression who don’t require medication, exercise is also effective. Consider it a useful tool for stress reduction.

  1. Practice meditation/mindfulness/yoga for Stress Relief

Activities of this nature are beneficial for stress management. A focused type of directed contemplation is meditation. Although they focus on movement, yoga and tai chi are both known to reduce stress. Progressive muscular relaxation and deep breathing are other methods for lowering stress. If you don’t know where to begin, enroll in a class and you’ll learn how to practice alone for half an hour, three times each week.

Watch our video to practice guided meditation for effective emotional healing.

Read Blog: the benefits of mindfulness and meditation for effective stress management here!

  1. Practice heart coherence

Cardiac coherence is a breathing technique that people use naturally to manage stress and anxiety. The hormones in the body and heart rate are immediately impacted. 

Read Blog: Know the benefits and techniques to encourage cardiac coherence in your body by reading our latest article.

  1. Engage with pets/animals

Pets may provide trauma sufferers with an unsurpassed amount of assistance as they work to deal with the emotional fallout from a traumatic incident. When a resident is experiencing emotional turmoil, a cherished and dependable pet might provide a lifeline. In other words, a pet may frequently perform a certain sort of healing magic just by being there.

Understand why emotional troubles persist by watching our video.

In this article we will focus on the therapeutic effects of pets and animals in the times of emotional distress and for over all emotional well-being.

The role of Pets/animals in emotional healing

Strong ties exist between people and animals. And there is no denying the link between having pets and having good mental health. majority of pet owners consider their animal to be a part of their family, based on a 2015 Harris study. And it is true regardless of our age. All age groups like having pets, including young people, adults, and older citizens. As a result, having pets helps with mental wellness. Humans and animals frequently develop a natural affinity with one another. Films like Marley and Me (2008), Dolphin Tale (2011), Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009), and Free Willy have all included it (1993). Long-term studies of this connection have revealed that it extends beyond what is depicted in popular culture. The contact between humans and animals has a lot of beneficial consequences on a person’s general wellness. Among other things, it aids in boosting emotional stability while enhancing communication, socializing, and self-worth.

Additionally, studies support the advantages of dogs for mental wellness. Numerous scientific studies have shown that keeping a dog or cat is good for your mental health. Distress, anxiety, and stress may all be reduced by animals. They also offer company and alleviate loneliness. Pets also provide us happiness and unwavering devotion.

Pets who have a reputation for supporting their owners during the harrowing process of recovering from emotional trauma are sometimes linked to emotional support animals. The difference between working service animals and emotional support animals is that the latter are thoroughly trained with the goal of assisting persons with specific, customized needs. On the contrary hand, our dogs may offer natural healing without any training. We may enjoy the relaxing, soothing influence of our dogs’ companionship just by playing with or caressing them. Our dogs can support us in overcoming the signs of anxiety and despair, fear, and a number of other difficult feelings that are likely to accompany a traumatic encounter, even without training.

Coping benefits of pets at the time of emotional distress?

emotional assistance Even though they don’t need any special training, animals may nevertheless help owners who have suffered trauma by simply being there as loving friends and providing support and connection via simple companionship. This gives us a special ability to deal with emotional tangles and other difficulties as we work to address trauma-related concerns.

Animals can make people feel better by increasing their oxytocin levels. Because it reduces blood pressure, decreases heart rate, and inhibits the generation of stress hormones, oxytocin is advantageous. When we connect with animals, the production of this so-called “happy” molecule is shown to rise, which might help us combat the negative feelings that are frequently felt after trauma.

Additionally, animals may assist us in learning how to release our resentment and frustration. Many people who have encountered trauma go through these feelings, and they might be among of the hardest to get rid of thereafter. However, letting go of these sentiments may have a long-lasting good effect on mental health, therefore many people work with mental health professionals to get to a point where they can let go of these and other connected feelings. Pets don’t hang onto these feelings, therefore having animal friends around may help many people let go of resentment and anger more quickly.

Dogs and other emotional support animals can teach us how to practice mindfulness and present-moment awareness. Being more attentive has several advantages, such as teaching people how to maximize their time, improving their mood on a daily basis, and enhancing their emotional stability. Even those who have never experienced trauma can benefit from mindfulness practice, but for those who have, it can be a vital component of stress reduction.

Early research on pets and mental health

Thirty years ago, the first study on animals and emotional health were released. The study was carried out by psychologist Alan Beck from Purdue University and psychotherapist Aaron Katcher from the University of Pennsylvania. So they evaluated the effects of petting a friendly dog on the human body. We are aware of the positive effects of pet interaction. Everyone is happy when an animal shows love, but therapeutic interventions of animals also serve to reduce stress and in other ways besides just being enjoyable to be around.

The following benefits come from working with a therapy animal:

  • reduces anxiety
  • relieves emotional tension, encourages language usage and social engagement, reduces physical discomfort, slows the heart rate and breathing strengthens trust, lowers blood pressure, and relieves emotional stress
  • lessens loneliness; increases empathy

Furry cafés and animal-assisted treatments can provide individuals who are unable to benefit from pets and animals with excellent possibilities to interact with animals and experience emotional healing.

What is animal-assisted therapy?

In goal-oriented therapy sessions, an animal is cared for or spent time with as part of animal-assisted therapy (AAT). AAT is intended to supplement the positive effects of conventional treatment and can be utilized to achieve physical, emotional, educational, or psychological goals. Spending time with a trained therapy animal is a component of animal-assisted therapy. An anxiety reduction and emotional discomfort management tool is a therapy animal. Therapy animals are sometimes used in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare institutions to offer comfort or assistance.

Animals used for providing Animal-assisted therapy

A broad variety of animals, including little ones such as guinea pigs and birds and bigger ones such as dogs, dolphins, and horses, are utilized in AAT. Dogs are most frequently used in therapeutic settings in India. Additionally, some therapists employ hamsters and cats.

Dogs are frequently employed in AAT because of their capacity for emotional engagement, communication, and interaction. They can interpret human facial expressions, comprehend pointing, and verbal and visual communication. Regardless of the breed or type, it is crucial to make sure the therapy animal is properly socialized and trained. The temperament and responses to various stimuli are taken into consideration while choosing an animal. It has been discovered that canines that are relaxed, kind, and confident are better suited.

When is Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) used?

AAT is accessible to individuals of all ages and is helpful in both personal and group settings. AAT can help with a variety of problems, such as emotional instability, homesickness, depression, anxiety, PTSD, schizophrenia, substance misuse, developmental disorders, behavioral problems, or other medical illnesses.

Additionally, it improves the general health of sufferers of neurological conditions including Parkinson’s disease and dementia. In these situations, it aids in lowering psychological anguish and maintains the patient motivation to better follow their main course of therapy.

Explore your “at home” feeling for emotional healing by watching our video.

Some popular Types of Animal Therapies are: 

  • Canine Therapy

Canine Therapy They may be trained to respond to particular events and feelings that a human may be experiencing when engaging with the dog. They are gregarious and loving beings.

  • Equine Therapy

Horses and dogs have comparable temperaments. They are kind, loving, clever, and very good at recognizing signs of mental or physical discomfort in other people. Even though they aren’t technically “pets,” horses love being groomed like other household pets, which makes it easier for kids and adults to relate to them.

  • Animal Farm Therapy

Children and adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities benefit from simply being around calm animals. Taking care of farm animals may promote communication, self-care, and trust in the environment.

The Power of Animal-Assisted Therapy

More information on the link between pets and emotional well-being has since been uncovered by experts. Programs using animals in therapy have grown to be significant components of mental health care. Additionally, having a mental health animal, such as an emotional support dog, benefits the owner.

Programs for mental health have included horse therapy since the 1990s. Horses are actively used in the treatment of mental illness through equine-assisted therapy. Emotions and problems can be addressed via the human-horse connection. They achieve this by having a strong, personal experience with nonverbal communication. 

The best part is you don’t need to rush to any therapy center to avail the emotional healing benefits of pets and animals. You can engage with pets and animals wherever you want and whenever you want.

Benefits of pets/animals on mental health

Below are a few ways in which pets support mental health.

  1. Having Pet Contact Reduces Stress Hormones

According to studies on dogs and mental health, touching and engaging with animals lowers hormones linked to stress and these advantages can start to materialize after only five minutes of pet interaction. Pets are thus a great resource for people who struggle with anxiety.

Engaging with a dog or cat increases serotonin and dopamine levels in the body. These hormones help to relax and quiet down the nervous system. These “happy hormones” are stimulated when we chuckle and marvel at our dogs’ endearing antics.

Additionally, associating with a lovable dog lowers cortisol, a stress hormone, levels. Additionally, it stimulates the body’s natural stress-reduction hormone oxytocin. This explains the effectiveness of animal-assisted therapy. Furthermore, pet-stroking is a sensory activity that decreases blood pressure. As a result, stress is diminished. Dogs can thus help calm restless or hostile kids, according to research.

In one research, anxious individuals have instructed to pet a rabbit, a turtle, or a stuffed animal. Nothing happened when they touched the toy. However, petting the turtle or bunny calmed worries. Additionally, the advantages were felt by everyone, including those who didn’t really appreciate animals.

  1. Pets Can Help Prevent Child Anxiety

According to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in which 643 kids took part, having a pet dog may shield kids from anxiety. A bit more than 50% of them had dogs. Children’s BMIs, stress measures, screen time, and activity level were all assessed by researchers, and they discovered that these variables were identical for all of the kids. Whether people owned dogs as pets or not, this was true. In fact, a test for anxiety showed a positive result in 21% of the kids who didn’t have a pet dog. Only 12% of kids with dogs had positive anxiety tests. Therefore, it is evident that having pets reduces stress and anxiety in children. 

  1. Our pets give us a sense of need.

When someone has a pet to take care of, they feel more desired and loved. Caregiving provides advantages for mental health. We have a feeling of purpose and significance when we are providing for another living being. This holds true even if the pets’ carers don’t engage with them very much. Numerous studies have found that taking care of a live thing was good for one’s mental health. Thus, serving others’ interests lessens melancholy and loneliness.

  1. Pets boost our sense of well-being and self-worth

Three trials on the advantages of pet ownership were recently done by psychologists at Miami University and Saint Louis University. The outcomes were subsequently published by the American Psychological Association. The research revealed that pet parents had enhanced health in a number of categories, such as:

  • a higher sense of self
  • greater physical fitness
  • Lonelier less
  • greater diligence and decreased preoccupation
  • more outgoing
  • less frightened

In the first research, 217 participants provided information about their psychological health, personality, and attachment style. Additionally, pet owners were generally happier, healthier, and more stable than non-owners.

56 dog owners participated in a second trial. Researchers looked at how pet owners felt about their animals. They also gauged their level of well-being. One set of respondents claimed that having a dog improved their sense of purpose, self-worth, and belonging. Therefore, compared to the other individuals, these persons had better overall well-being.

The third research included 97 undergraduates, with an average age of 19 years. Researchers discovered that dogs can make individuals feel better after being rejected.

  1. Pets Help Mental Illness Recovery

People who are healing from serious mental health disorders find pets to be of great assistance. A recent meta-analysis examined 17 scholarly works and researchers discovered proof that having a pet helps persons with mental health issues.

The studies examined the effects of various pets on the mental health of persons who are dealing with mental diseases, including cats, dogs, hamsters, finches, and even goldfish. Overall, the review discovered that participants’ pets were able to control their emotions. Additionally, it took their attention away from the signs of their mental illness.

For instance, 54 people took part in a 2016 research at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom who were suffering from serious mental diseases such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder. As a consequence, 60 percent of participants reported that having a pet in their most significant circle of supporting relationships helped them manage their disease and daily life. Pets also provided people with a strong feeling of identity, self-worth, and significance. Furthermore, dogs diverted their attention away from symptoms such as hearing voices, suicidal thoughts or ruminating. Pets provided a unique sort of validation via unconditional love, which patients were frequently not receiving from other familial or social interactions.

  1. Pets Aid in the Development of Healthy Habits

Pets must be cared for on a daily basis. As a consequence, they assist us in building good routines and daily habits.

  • Physical activity: Dog owners must routinely take their pups for walks, runs, and hikes. As a result, owners reap the advantages of exercise. According to research, dog owners are considerably more likely to achieve the required daily activity needs.
  • Spending time in nature: We go outside by walking our dogs or riding our horses. As a consequence, we get the numerous mental health advantages of being outside.
  • Getting out of bed: Dogs and cats require frequent feeding. As a result, pet owners must get up and take care of themselves, regardless of their mood. As a result, dogs motivate individuals to get up and begin their day.
  • Pet care promotes self-care: Caring for a dog, horse, or cat encourages us to take care of ourselves.
  1. Pets aid in the development of interpersonal skills.

According to research, people who are emotionally close to their pets have an easier time forming relationships with other people. As a result, because dogs respond to human stimuli, they aid in emotional development. Furthermore, animals make socializing less stressful for people who find it difficult.

Equine-Assisted Therapy also aids in the development of interpersonal skills. As a result, people form deep and lasting bonds with their horses. As a result, the confidence and abilities they gain translate to their interactions with family and friends. This is a critical phase in the process of development and healing.

  1. Pets Encourage Social Interaction

For both teenagers and adults, dogs have a positive impact on mental health because they foster social relationships. They lower anxiety issues because they give people something in common to chat about. Pets so help to combat social isolation.

For instance, taking a dog for a walk frequently results in discussions with other dog owners. Dog owners thus tend to be less lonely and more socially connected. As a result, their mental health gets better. This is true because those who are more socially active and have more friends often have better mental health. The advantages of social interaction are: 

  • a higher sense of self
  • decreases in anxiety and depression rates
  • a happier, more upbeat attitude
  • improved capacity for emotional self-control
  • enhanced mental capacity
  • more sentiments of trust and empathy for other people.

Don’t wait, go and engage with your pet, visit a furry café, take animal-assisted therapy or simply cuddle (harmless) animals and speed up the car of your emotional healing.

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