How a dog can help you overcome anxiety

Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong! I guess you can tell that I absolutely LOVE my dog! He is truly a gift from heaven that was sent to me at the lowest point of my life. I had severe anxiety and postpartum depression after my second son Roman. It was so bad, that I was hospitalized in a psychiatric facility for 5 days. While hospitalized, I underwent intensive psychological and medical treatment. This included family therapy sessions where my husband would meet with me and one of the psychologists. In our final session, the psychologist strongly recommended to me and my husband that we should consider getting a dog! The psychologist learned from previous sessions that I loved animals and concluded that getting a dog (along with continued prayer and therapy) could help me cope with my mental health issues. Perplexed, my husband flat out asked her “how can a dog help you overcome anxiety?”

How a dog can help you overcome anxiety?

According to “Pets, especially dogs and cats, can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve your cardiovascular health. Caring for an animal can help children grow up more secure and active. Pets also provide valuable companionship for older adults. Perhaps most importantly, though, a pet can add real joy and unconditional love to your life…The companionship of an animal can offer comfort, help ease anxiety, and build self-confidence for people anxious about going out into the world. Because pets live in the moment—they don’t worry about what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow—they can help you become more mindful and appreciate the joy of the present.”

I am so grateful for her advice! Reluctantly, my husband obliged and this sweet Havanese named Sho-Sho came into our lives 1 month after I was discharged from the hospital. He wasted no time and went to work immediately! I still struggled with panic attacks for a few months after my release from the hospital. Sho-Sho instictively  would lick me in the face repeatedly during the panic attack and never left my side as I laid in the pits of despair. He is upbeat and highly social, and that encouraged me (and forced me) to get up and socialize too. He has blessed me and my family beyond measure. I am so grateful that God blessed me with an angel disguised in fur!

With all that said,  I personally can testify how a dog helped me overcome my anxiety; and I am a firm believer that a dog can help you overcome your anxiety too. Be blessed friend (because you are).

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