Can Pets Be Social Support?

Are you an animal lover? Or do you even keep the animal in your home? For you, animal lovers, seeing and even being able to raise these animals has become a pleasure in itself. On the other hand, if you are not an animal lover, just looking at it is annoying. However, did you know that the animals we keep are capable of being a medium for coping with stress?

In psychology, there are three ways to deal with stress or often referred to as stress coping.

  1. Problem-focused coping: how to deal with stress that is directly at the source of the stress.
  2. Emotion-focused coping: a way of dealing with stress that involves emotions. Usually, people who use this type of stress coping tend to deny or suppress the stress they experience, although some accept the stress.
  3. Social support: to deal with the stress experienced.

According to Fast ESA Letter (A company that specializes in emotional support animal services ), there are various forms of social support, such as help, protection, emotional support. Social support can also come from family, friends, and even from pets. The existence of social support that a person gets can also affect that person’s self-esteem. Not surprisingly, social support is considered the most important stress coping.

For animal lovers, caring for animals can make them feel better, even when they are sick or sad. Like watching fish swimming can lower high blood pressure. Some researchers have found that animals have the ‘power’ to heal, because animals, especially pets, can change the biochemical processes in the pet owner’s brain. There is even a biological bond between humans and animals because humans secrete a brain chemical called oxytocin. These chemicals can also block the production of stress hormones, and create a sense of comfort and calm.

A study shows that men and women who are talking to their dogs can double the levels of oxytocin in the blood. In addition, it can increase other hormones, such as endorphins and dopamine, two hormones that can produce feelings of pleasure.

Several studies have compared the differences between people who own animals and those who don’t, especially those affecting stress levels. As in 1999, Allen and his friends who are also health psychologists found that pets can reduce stress for their owners. Research participants who have pets also tend to be more emotionally stable when stressed than participants who don’t have pets. One of them can affect the calmness of participants when experiencing stress symptoms such as affecting blood pressure and heart rate.

Other studies have shown that raising animals can have a positive psychological impact on a person. For example, HIV-positive people who are also pet owners are less likely to be depressed than those who don’t have pets. Even pets are the most powerful social support to improve a person’s psychological and physiological health.

From the explanation above, it can be concluded that pets can be our social support. In addition, there are many benefits that we get from raising animals that we unconsciously affect our psychological and physiological conditions. Such as increasing hormones that produce feelings of pleasure, reducing and blocking symptoms of stress, and can increase self-esteem.

However, from raising animals, you also get consequences to continue to maintain and care for these animals so that they are always healthy. Do not let you just want to benefit from the pets you have, but you don’t want to take care of the animals.