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5 reasons pets improve your well-being

Pets have a profoundly positive impact on the lives of their owners. In fact, cuddling up with a cute, furry pal can actually improve your overall well-being.

Take a look at five ways pets can improve your health:

1. Boost self-esteem.

Pets offer unconditional love and support — making their owners feel wanted and needed. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Psychology revealed that pets help boost confidence and make their owners more socially outgoing, conscientious people. 

2. Reduce stress levels.  

A study conducted by the University of Buffalo found that the support of a pet can help control your heart rate and blood pressure in stressful situations. Pets offer unconditional love and spending time with them lower anxiety levels.  

3. Increase production of feel-good chemicals. 

Studies have found that simply petting a cat or dog can increase a person’s oxytocin level. Oxytocin is a hormone that makes people feel happy and trusting.

It also helps with healing and pain relief. So spending time with a pet may be good for those suffering from physical pain or discomfort.

4. Fight the symptoms of depression.

Pets can help their owners combat feelings of isolation and sadness. A study found that nursing home residents felt less lonely after receiving weekly half-hour visits with dogs.

Pets can also be used in therapy, helping to promote feelings of empathy, calm and acceptance in people struggling with depression.

5. Promote exercise and physical activity.

Pets require plenty of exercise, and taking them out for a walk may give you the workout you need. Research from Michigan State University shows that people with dogs are 34 percent more likely to get the recommend amount of weekly exercise than people with other kinds of pets, or no pets at all.

Check out more helpful, healthful tips from Living Better.

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