How Cats Improve Your Mental Health
It’s pretty hard to be unhappy around a cat. Their cute faces, funny expressions, and silly antics can put almost anyone in a better mood. But did you know there’s scientific evidence that cats benefit your mental health? Owning a cat can help alleviate stress and anxiety, decrease loneliness and depression, and increase self-esteem and sense of purpose.
Stress and Anxiety Relief
Have you ever come home from a long day feeling defeated and overwhelmed and then you sit down on the couch and pet your cat and feel instantly lighter? Hanging out with cats can cause your body to produce stress reducing hormones. This will decrease your heart rate and blood pressure, relaxing the nervous system and normalizing anxiety levels. Aside from feeling better emotionally, a reduction in stress levels also lowers your risk of developing cardiovascular issues like heart disease and strokes.
Being with your cat also triggers the release of happiness chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and oxytocin, which alleviates bad moods. Brain scans have even shown that being with their cats activates the prefrontal cortex of cat owners, which has a calming effect on them. This is one reason why it’s so difficult to feel grumpy when there’s a cat purring on your lap!
Having a cat companion can help fight loneliness and depression. Taking care of a pet and developing a relationship with them gives you purpose and helps create a routine for both you and your cat. Having someone that relies on them gives pet owners a sense of fulfillment, which can help relieve mild depression symptoms. Caring for a furry friend can positively affect your mental health not only by giving you more structure and meaning but just by having someone around to keep you company. When they cuddle with you, meow for attention, and follow you around the house your cat is showing you unconditional love and letting you know that you are not alone.
A Good Night’s Sleep
Sharing your bed with your cat can improve your sleep quality. Their calming presence encourages relaxation, helping you drift off to sleep more easily. A good night’s sleep will leave you feeling more positive the next morning and ready to take on whatever the day may bring.
By decreasing stress and anxiety and providing unconditional love and companionship, a cat will help improve your mental health and well-being. Whether it’s their cuddles, zoomies, or one-of-a-kind idiosyncrasies, your cat will bring a healthy dose of happiness to your life every day and what can be better than that?Love, Nala