Though we all try to maintain a positive outlook on life, circumstances beyond our control can sometimes overwhelm us. Mental health problems are rife at the moment. I see this period of austerity and an incompetent and uncaring government as a significant contributing factor. Doctors see new people every day who are desperate for help.
Anxiety is behind many forms of mental illness and sometimes it is untreatable. When it strikes, the sufferer cannot function properly, and the road to recovery can be long and arduous. There are many forms of treatment for anxiety and some of them help to manage the condition. Unfortunately, there isn’t an overnight cure.
The experts reckon that animals can help sufferers find some happiness and solace in what I think is a lonely illness. They bring about a state of relaxation that is a vital element in any treatment.
Even if you are not an animal lover at the moment, perhaps you should consider getting one. If you are wise in your choice, there are few downsides to owning a pet. Here are a few ideas for you to ponder at your leisure.
A Beautiful Cat
Cats are selfish animals. They will pay attention to you when they need it or if they want food. Most other times, they will either sleep or go out on the hunt. Though they only care for themselves, but they bring a sense of calm and serenity to the room. If you allow it to lie on you for warmth while it sleeps, you will benefit from it. Your blood pressure starts to come down and your breathing will slow. It is the state you try to achieve in the relaxation techniques that you practice. The cat makes a good companion too, particularly for those who suffer from agoraphobia. They don’t need to take the animal for a walk because cats take care of themselves. They suit a minimalist lifestyle where a clutter-free existence is vital.
There are many small animals you can keep. Though they don’t communicate with us in the way of cats and dogs, they are little bundles of warmth that give you something on which to focus your attention.
- Gerbils are a bit bigger than mice and are fun to watch. If you handle them regularly, they will soon become familiar with you and unafraid. They are active in the night, so I advise you not to keep them in your bedroom because they make a lot of noise as they run about the cage.
- Hamsters are bigger than gerbils and are a bit more sociable. You can keep them in a small cage where they will live a happy life.
- Guinea pigs are marvelous little fellows. You might find it hard to believe, but they have distinct personalities. They learn to recognize you and are thankful for the attention you give them.
The only downside with small furry creatures is that they don’t live for many years. That shouldn’t put you off though; they make brilliant companions.
Photo Credit: Jochen Frey
A Friendly Dog
A dog is called man’s best friend for a reason; there is no other domesticated animal that offers us so much. They aren’t as clean as cats, but the guys at www.petfleas.co.uk help us to keep them free of those nipping parasites. They have an incredible sense of empathy and know when something is wrong with you. Maybe you might feel especially sad at some time; a cold nose will help to cheer you up. There are many other reasons to get a dog; here are a few.
- Some of them can detect the onset of a seizure in an epileptic before the person does. Nobody knows how they manage it; perhaps there are subtle changes in the sufferer’s body language. They have senses of which we can only dream.
- You feel as if there is a friend in the house thanks to your canine companion. They are always glad to see you and never too tired to give you a fuss when you need it.
- When you feel depressed, you often need a reason to go out of the house. A dog will encourage you to go out for a walk. Though they cannot read a clock, they know by instinct that it is time for an outing.
- If you feel insecure, the dog will reassure you that everything is alright. They will often protect their owners fiercely if the need arises, and it doesn’t matter how dangerous the threat is.
There is no doubt about it; from their point of view, us humans need a lot of attention.
Tropical fish are pretty useless as companions, but they are a fantastic hobby. A healthy fish tank only remains that way if you look after it properly. I include them in my list of beneficial animals because of their aesthetic value. You can watch them for hours on end as they swim idly around the tank. That will take you into a state of calm relaxation. Introduce some interesting features such as a model shipwreck to make a beautiful scene. The sound of the filters and the aeration bubbles is pleasant; close your eyes and let it work its magic.
I am not a fan of birds, but many other people are. They treat their budgie as a member of the family and are always happy to spend some time talking to it. If it acts as a companion to them and relieves their loneliness, it is beneficial. There are others who enjoy teaching their parrot how to talk when somebody enters the room. Even if they are not cuddly creatures, they offer a focus for the owner’s attention and a distraction from their everyday lives.
My ideas might not suit everybody. There are some people who find an affinity for snakes and other reptiles. If it works, it works. Have you ever thought about getting an exotic pet but never got around to it? When you go through a stressful time of life, it might be worth acting on the idea and acquiring a new friend, whatever it may be. It could help you through some dark times.