Emotional support animals support thousands of people every day all over the country. There are many reasons why any individual may need an ESA to ease the negative symptoms of mental and psychological issues. They are not the same as a service dog that helps with physical impairment. People require an ESA for mental or emotional support.
Whatever the reasoning behind owning an ESA, there’s no denying the positive effect they have on their owner’s lives. In this post, we’ve decided to compile just 5 of the ways ESAs can improve their owner’s mental wellbeing.
1 . They Make Travelling Less Stressful
Travelling can be stressful at the best of times. If you struggle with an anxiety disorder, it can feel even more arduous. There’s a lot to think about and a lot to remember. It can be overwhelming. However, with the help of an emotional support dog, flying can be a much smoother experience.
Animals can lower anxiety and stress responses, and their presence has proven to be soothing for those who struggle with their mental health. This is especially true if you have already formed a bond with your animal. It’s like bringing a friend along for the journey. If your ESA dog is registered, you should have no problem getting them on your flight!
2 . They Lower the Production of Stress Hormones
Yes, you read that correctly, our pets can affect our brain chemistry. Numerous studies have shown that petting and being around animals actively reduces stress-related hormones such as cortisol. Some of these benefits can begin within just five minutes of being in the presence of an animal.
So, with this in mind, imagine how much stress-relief a full-time ESA can provide? It’s no wonder they prove to be such valuable companions to so many. In addition to reducing stress, playing with dogs can also increase serotonin and dopamine (AKA, the happiness hormones!)
3 . They Keep us Grounded
One of the best ways to destress is to place yourself in the present moment. Centuries of meditation have taught us this. Emotional support animals are experts at staying in the present. They are unfazed and chilled out in all circumstances. We can learn a lot from them!
Having such their soothing presence around influences our responses to potentially stressful extraneous circumstances. With an ESA dog by your side, you have someone to turn to when you start to feel overwhelmed. They’re a fountain of meditative wisdom, wrapped up in an adorable package.
4 . They Provide Purpose
A common symptom of depression is a loss of purpose and a significant drop in motivation. This can lead to profound lethargy, with some sufferers struggling to leave their beds. With an ESA animal, you wake up every day knowing that you have a companion, depending on you.
Rather than an unwelcome responsibility, the presence of an ESA allows us to fulfill the caregiver’s satisfying role. We look after them, and in return, they help us to build more meaningful lives. Studies have found that pets provide a sense of purpose that can often be missing in their absence, particularly in older people.
5 . They Can Increase Our Self-Esteem
Dogs love their owners unconditionally. We know this from all the hundreds of videos posted on social media and all the stories of dogs never leaving their owner’s sides. They genuinely care for us, much as we care for them. This reciprocal affection has numerous benefits to our overall wellbeing.
One of the most profound experiences of companionship with an ESA is improved self-esteem. Knowing that we are needed and appreciated makes us feel valued. Adorably, a study in 2016 found that emotions released in the brain when writing about our human friends were identical when writing about our dogs. They aren’t just pets. They are faithful companions.
Maureen McCarthy founded Love and Kisses Pet Sitting in 2006. She is a member of Pet Sitters International and has Feline Certification through the University of Edinburgh. She operates one of the most successful pet sitter businesses in North Carolina. Read more about Maureen here.