Mental Health Days With Your Dog

The hustle and bustle of life can really twist you up and wear you down. Stress is a killer, and is one of the major causes for illness and poor health in adults today.

It is a fact that when you have daily interaction with your pet it offers a lot of calming, mood-enhancing benefits. A recent study found that people with serious illnesses were less likely to suffer from depression if they owned a pet.

Yes, it’s possible for me to used ACE inhibiting drugs to reduce my blood pressure. But they aren’t as effective on controlling spikes in blood pressure due to stress and tension. And besides that, I don’t role that way!

In a recent study, a group of hyper-tense New York stockbrokers who got dogs or cats were found to have lower blood pressure and heart rates than those who didn’t have pets. When they heard of the results, most of those in the non-pet group went out and got pets!

Now I’m no rocket scientist, but this should tell us ALL something! And it shouldn’t take a Mack Truck hitting us to get our attention.

I have personally found that it’s completely impossible to stay in a bad mood when a pair of loving puppy’s eyes are looking into mine. When I get home in the evening it doesn’t matter how bad my day has been. When I walk through that door my focus changes completely. But sometimes it just isn’t enough.

For over 15 years I have been taking one day per month, and used it as something I like to call a “Mental Health Day” … By that I mean: I Unplug, Turn Off, Shut Down, Get Out, and Get Away with my dogs.

This past Sunday was one of those days.

After “sleeping in” for an extra hour or so, I got up. I let the dog out to do “her thing” and announced to the neighborhood that she was out and on-guard. About an hour later I met some friends for a nice leisurely brunch at a nearby restaurant.

Afterward it was back home to relax and unwind for the day. I opened the door, grabbed the leash and we were off for a nice long walk. On our walk we ran into several dogs and their owners. On a few occasions we stopped to chat and swap a few stories. Then we were back on the walk.

At the end of the walk we stopped to visit my next door neighbor who was busy working in his yard. While we talked, we turned our dogs loose to run around the yard and play. We had a blast watching them, and they were having a lot more fun than we were.

Before I realized it, most of the afternoon had passed. But I wasn’t surprised … or upset. I was however, completely relaxed.

After returning home, we went inside. I joined the dog on the living room floor and we played with her toys for awhile. When she had gotten enough playtime she went out to the kitchen for a drink of water. Then she settled down on her doggie bed and closed her eyes.

I made a quick bite to eat and settled into my recliner. I turned on the TV and promptly fell asleep. After a few hours, I got up and went to bed!!!

What a GREAT DAY!!!

 

NOTE: It is important to note that owning a pet isn’t for everyone. Pets require additional work and responsibility, which can bring its own kind of stress. However, for most, the benefits of having a pet outweigh this extra work. Having a cuddly best friend can reduce stress in your life and bring you support when times are tough.

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