Isn’t it a joy to share our world with animals? It is important to our physical and emotional well-being to have a personal connection with the natural world in all its forms, but especially when we connect on a more intimate level with a pet of our own. These effects are more dramatic in cases of more at-risk individuals – children, the elderly, those who experience anxiety or depression.
Research has shown that regular contact with a pet can improve our cognitive function, our emotional state and our social interaction. Companion animals help improve mood and lower blood pressure. (See our post on animal therapy here.) A study of women in China found that those who were dog owners had fewer doctor visits, took fewer days off sick from work, and exercised more often than non-dog owners. Anyone with a pet can agree that their playfulness can brighten our day in an instant. And being greeted with joy at the door by a beloved pet helps you feel cherished and important.
An animal does not care what holiday you celebrate, what religion you practice, what political party you endorse. The animal simply appreciates your presence, your love and your companionship. From a spiritual standpoint, without a human mind getting in the way, (comma here) animals are more directly in tune with the spiritual world. Their unconditional love for their human provides a sense of connection rarely seen between people.
It is a wonderful thing to take a few moments first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening to fully connect with your pet, grooming, playing, quietly stroking, to still the mind and encourage full presence in the moment. Whether or not you have a companion animal, be sure to connect with the natural world on a regular basis … it’s good for you!