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Pets as de-stressors: Things that help us cope

by Gaby Agbulos

IMAGINE this: you come home from a long day of work. Your boss has been on your ass the whole day, and it feels like everything that could’ve gone wrong has. You drop your things at the door and, without even taking off your shoes, you plop down on the couch and heave out a huge, tired sigh. 

If only there was something that could take all your stress away in a split second – something that could recharge you with a simple hug. Oh wait, there is!

Many researchers have noted that owning a pet can help to alleviate stress. According to News in Health, interacting with animals helps to decrease loneliness and cortisol levels (otherwise known as stress.) It’s also been proven to help in lowering one’s blood pressure, as well as increasing one’s mood. 

Owning a pet also helps you feel socially supported, and is especially comforting if you have mental health issues like autism, depression, or ADHD. Aside from this, pets also help you to be more physically active, since you’ll be walking theme several times a day. 

As per physician and researcher Dr. Ann Berger: “The foundations of mindfulness include attention, intention, compassion, and awareness – all of those things are things that animals bring to the table.” 

While people have to learn these traits, animals do so innately. Loving is a part of them, hence why they make others so happy.

No more feeling alone

Lei Anya Chun, 27, got her first cat back in 22. She was settling into her new, independent lifestyle, and found herself feeling rather lonely at times. 

When Yuri came into her life, it was like a whole was filled. Since then, she’s only continued to adopt more and more cats, taking care of them alongside her partner.

Since she has a job, Chun often finds herself stressed out due to being overworked. Since she lives in the city she has to deal with rather high living costs, so alongside her regular job she’s had to start putting more hours into freelance work as well just to be financially stable.  

In dealing with her problems, Yuri and her other cats have been a huge help. At this point, Chun firmly believes that her pets can sense whenever she’s feeling down.

At times they even knock on her door just to make sure she isn’t alone, receiving an endless amount of cuddles from them during the times she needs comfort most.

23-year-old Joshua Gerona felt the same way when his four cats and three dogs came into his life.

“Animal lovers kami halos lahat sa pamilya; may pets na kami sa bahay ever since I was six,” he shared. His mom would often adopt cats, bringing them home because she liked their company, and because she believed that they brought good luck with them. 

It was in 2012 that he and his siblings first adopted a cat of their own: a stray named Cham, who sadly passed away just a few days ago.

At present, Gerona’s oldest cat is Minggay, who came into his life unexpectedly thanks to the so-called cat distribution system. The three other cats he owns are Minggay’s children, all living as one happy family under his roof. 

Gerona originally wanted to adopt because he’d always loved taking care of animals, especially cats.

“They’re my happy pill in life,” he explained.

“I’ve never felt alone since I adopted them.” 

At present, Gerona is a working student, which means that he has double the responsibilities in his everyday life. While there are times when he struggles with balancing work with his academics, his days are made brighter any time he’s able to spend time with his cats. He spends his free time either playing with them or sleeping with them by his side.

It’s thanks to his cats that Gerona can sleep so soundly at night. In many ways, he looks at them as his furry little lifesavers.

Remember: it’s still a big responsibility!

While getting a pet is a great way to de-stress, it’s important to remember that buying or adopting one is a big responsibility. 

Before getting one, be sure to do your research, and look for tips for beginner fur parents so that you can be fully prepared to welcome your new pet into your life. Having a pet means being willing to take them on walks, spending on their needs, and sacrificing a night out if ever they have no one to look after them. All that jazz.

Pets help to relieve stress, yes, but there are also instances wherein they cause it, and you need to be ready for that. As the popular saying goes: if you can’t handle them at their worst (i.e. throwing up on your couch and ripping up your furniture,) then you sure as hell don’t deserve them at their best.

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