Calming the Anxious and Soothing the Depressed
Everybody runs into negative feelings at times, including fear, stress, and anxiety, but some people are hit harder than others, and studies show that animals may be able to help. Animal-assisted therapy has been shown to have at least a moderate effect on improving the emotional well-being of humans.
According to a large 2007 study in the journal Anthrozoös, researchers have successfully used animals to calm patients prior to a potentially frightening medical procedure; help patients with post-traumatic stress disorder conquer their fears; and decrease symptoms in people suffering from depression. How does it work? A 2000 study in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that positive interaction with dogs can give a boost to the brain chemicals that lower blood pressure, which could be the biological basis behind these animal-assisted therapies.