USA Today posted a wonderful article yesterday about dogs and their benefits to our mental health. It is true that when we pet a dog, we almost instantly become happier, but now, the article states, new research can explain why.
Studies show that when petting a dog, a hormone called oxytocin kicks into high gear. Oxytocin, which is sometimes dubbed “the cuddle hormone,” helps reduce blood pressure and decreases levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress and anxiety.
Sounds pretty simple, right? Feeling stressed? Pet your dog!
But we can take it a step further by taking our dogs on walks. Not only does the exercise and fresh air have great health benefits, but dogs have been known to break down social barriers and give strangers a reason to say hello. Now you’re providing a wagging tail not only to yourself, but to your neighbors as well!
So the next time you are feeling stressed, give your dog a pat, and then take him outside to spread happiness to others.