Do you ever wish you could feel less anxious, more relaxed and more confident? What if we told you that the answer is probably snuggled up in your lap? That’s right, Scientists have found that cuddling with your dog might be the way to a happier, calmer and more zen you. This Valentine’s day, we challenge you to find more time to cuddle with your four-legged best friend! Read on to see all the benefits of cuddling with your pooch!
(Note: The photos below features some of our awesome Hosts and their Guest dogs!)
Boosts your Mood
We all know what a relief it is to sit down after a long day of work and cuddle with your happy pup. This happy feeling is actually caused by your brain releasing endorphins when you see your pup. Endorphins help to create a feeling of overall well-being and satisfaction. We’re social animals, so this type of bonding behavior with our dogs really helps us to feel connected and happy.
These happy endorphins that are released when we pet our pups have an added bonus; they help alleviate pain. Hospitals all over the country have begun using “Therapy Dogs” that come in every so often to allow hospital patients to pet them. Petting puppies for even half an hour a week has helped many patients of all ages feel less pain. So the next time you have a minor headache, take a second to cuddle up to Fido.
Lowers Your Stress Levels
James Coan, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Virginia found that petting your pup reduces stress-related activity in a brain area called the hypothalamus — which lowers the levels of cortisol coursing through your system. Cortisol is basically the stress hormone and which means your pup helps snuggle all your stress away! Recently, researchers in Japan found that doggie parents that were particularly close to their pups experienced a spike in oxytocin — a neurotransmitter that helps us cope with stress — from simply sitting down and petting their dog for 15 minutes.
Lowers Your Blood Pressure
In a study by Alan Beck, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University, they found that when people interact with dogs, “you actually get a drop in blood pressure, a true relaxation response”. Pets encourage silliness, laughter, and extended snuggle sessions, which will ultimately aid in lowering your blood pressure.
Boosts Immune System
We’ve already covered the fact that snuggling up to your four-legged best friend can help reduce cortisol levels and release endorphins but what we haven’t mentioned yet is that this psychosomatic response also helps to boost your immune system and aid in your overall health. In a study conducted by Brad Lichtenstein from Bastyr University in Seattle, researchers found that petting your dog has been shown to improve immune function. Lucky for us, when we’re sick in bed, our pups can be the best snuggle buddies.
When people feel cared for, they tend to be more confident in themselves. No one cares about us quite like our dogs do and often times they show us this by vying for our attention and prodding us to pet them at all times. As simple as this may seem, it makes us as puppy parents feel needed and cared for, which in turn helps to boost our self-confidence. Also, because our dogs don’t mind it one bit when we’re goofy or being silly, they allow us to be less self-conscious and more true to ourselves.
Our dogs love us unconditionally. Make sure to return the favor by spending a few hours a day cuddling with them. It’s not only good for them, it’s good for you as well!
Written by Priscilla Liang