Stress isn’t ever fun to deal with.  There are several ways to reduce it, including improving diet, getting more sleep, exercising and medication.  However, have you ever thought about the face that pets reduce stress and anxiety?  Pets, in fact, are one of the best stress relievers and provide their owners with a number of other health benefits, including reduced blood pressure and improved allergies.  Here are five ways that pets can help to reduce stress:

1)    Decrease Blood Pressure. 
Pets have been known to reduce blood pressure better than medications.  They can sense tension and have a natural ability to keep us calm.  When humans are stressed, their blood pressure tends to increase which intensifies the health effects of being stressed.

2)    Encourage Exercise.
It’s sometimes difficult to get ourselves to work out, but when the health of a pet is in your hands, you’re pretty much forced to!  Pets encourage us to go on walks, jogs, and to play fetch in the backyard.  Exercise is good for stress management and overall health, so owning a pet can be credited with increasing these benefits.

3)    Help With Social Support. 
Dogs and cats can make us more approachable and give people a reason to stop and talk.  This gives people an opportunity to increase their network of friends and acquaintances, which also has great stress management benefits. 

4)    Improve Your Mood. 
For those of us who love animals, we know it’s impossible to stay in a bad mood with pets in our lives.  Some studies have shown that people who own pets are less likely to suffer from depression. 

5)    Prevent Loneliness. 
Animals can be there for you in ways that people can’t.  They don’t judge and they definitely won’t ever cancel plans.  They offer love and companionship and keep our secrets, no matter what.  It may sound silly, but pets can be even better listeners than humans can be!  In this way, pets reduce stress that may come from social isolation.

If you don’t already have a pet, hopefully reading this article encourages you to go out and get one!  And if you already own one, you’re probably appreciating them more than you did before.  Remember that if you’re constantly feeling stressed and anxious, even with a pet around, it would probably be best to see a doctor to discuss other options to relieve your stress.