Pets are important to many of us and are often seen as members of the family. Their companionship offers us unconditional acceptance and joy and can reduce anxiety and stress. Pets give boundless love, improving our lives in so many ways, and they can support us even when we need it most, when we are grieving.
How Pets Can Help You Grieve
The grieving process can be incredibly lonely, and many don’t know where to turn for grief support or what they can do to move forward through the grieving process. Many people feel isolated from their families, peers, or coworkers during this difficult time.
Often people feel like they are all alone in their grief and this can make it harder to heal. Animals offer unbiased support that can create a welcoming space for you to grieve the way you need to.
Even though pets do not possess the full spectrum of human emotions, they do feel simple, direct emotions. According to recent studies, dogs may be able to feel empathy toward their owners.
If you are having a hard time trying to come up with the words to explain how you are feeling, pets can be excellent listeners. They can provide you companionship and someone to talk to while you are trying to learn how to communicate how you feel.
Suggested Read: What Should I Journal After Experiencing A Loss
The Pet Effect
The Pet Effect is a study based on human-animal bonding that focuses on the mental health benefits of pets and their owners.
People who own a pet or interact with animals have been known to experience increased levels of oxytocin (also known as the “bonding hormone”) and decreased in cortisol, the stress hormone. Just by petting, sitting next to or playing with a pet can give you a chance to relax, still your mind, and lower anxiety due to grief.
While there is not a set path or method to cope with grief, hopefully, a pet can make the world of difference during times of loss.