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Pet as a stress buster

August 13th, 2014


Pet as a stress buster

Stress can lead to all sorts of illnesses, especially heart disease. Of course, we can’t avoid feeling stressed out from time to time, but it is important to learn how to cope with stress.

A way to relieve stress is to have a furry friend at home. Research has shown that keeping a pet can help reduce blood pressure and lower stress. Having a living creature around can help us cope with stress better (except when you’re married to one – that’s a cause of stress!).

Pets, especially dogs, can benefit your mood and body in many ways.

  1. It calms you down. Stroking your pet can help lower your blood pressure and slow down your heart beat. It also increases your serotonin and dopamine levels, which make you feel calm and happy. A research studied 240 couples and found that those who had a pet at home had lower blood pressure. Even when the couple had a problem, having a pet helped them get through a rough patch faster.
  2. It increases your immunity. Stress can trigger the body to release unhealthy hormones, which affect the immune system. Stress is even more dangerous than obesity, some researchers have found. Having a dog at home also help heart attack survivors live longer. A study followed 421 heart attack survivors and found that after a year, those who had a dog lived longer than those who didn’t. They also had fewer heart problems, lower triglyceride level and lower cholesterol level.

It could be because when you have a dog, you are more active. Research has found that dog owners get more exercise. A research showed that dog owners who regularly walked their dogs weighed less than those who didn’t have a dog or didn’t walk their dogs. Moreover, senior people who take their dogs out for a walk are also more active than those who don’t.

Taking your dog out for a walk also leads to socializing, and socializing helps prolong life as well. When you have a healthy social life, your body and mind age slower.

People handle stress in different ways. Researchers are trying to determine whether genes or childhood memories affect stress tolerance in people. Maybe in the near future we will be able to find out why some people are always stressed out, while some just breeze through everything.

While we don’t know the cause of stress, we know that certain things can lower it. Relieving stress is very important in life. We should be happy with ourselves and find time to be alone. If your life is packed with activities, try cutting back and giving yourself more time.

It is also important to live in the moment, being with the present.  Sometimes we are stressed out because we think too much about what will happen in the future, or what’s happened in the past. Live in the present by focusing on your breath and take a look at the thoughts that flash into your head.

If you can spare 10 minutes a day to meditate, that’s great. Research has shown that meditating can help lower the blood pressure and slow down the heart beat. Meditation is also said to help improve the brain, meaning you might be able to fight off brain problems that come with aging.

If you do not know how to practice meditation, pleasant imagination can also reduce stress. Think of how your mouth waters when you see a picture of delicious-looking food. That technique works the same way with stress. Think about a place that you like and try to feel it – what it looks like, smells like, and feels like. This will help you feel better.

Another important thing is to get rid of negative thoughts. Do not look at things in a negative light. For example, when there is a lot of work to do, do not say to yourself, “How can I possibly finish all of this?” Also, be aware of the nature of stress. It comes and goes. Don’t think too much about it.

While planning is good, thinking too far ahead is not so good. If you expect things to turn out a certain way, you set yourself up for a disappointment. Be curious and see what happens. Do not expect things to be good or bad. Without expectation, there is no worry and stress, and you can enjoy the present so much more.

One advice is to look at what’s before you. Do not clutter your head with all the “possibilities. For example, if you have fever, don’t waste time and energy thinking, “Where did I get it from? Will anyone catch it from me? When will I recover? Will I miss work? Will my colleagues be mad if I don’t show up? Will I have to cancel the trip next weekend? If so, will they refund the payment? Or can I postpone it?” All of those questions are not even relevant to the actual problem, which is just a fever.

A lot of times, the cause of stress is ourselves. Try living in the moment and you will feel much calmer.


Prof Nithi Mahanonda is consultant cardiologist and interventionist, Perfect Heart Institute.


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ข้อคิดเห็นทั้งหมดนี้เป็นความคิดเห็นส่วนบุคคลของผู้อ่าน ไม่เกี่ยวข้องกับเจ้าของเว็บไซต์แต่อย่างใด โปรดแสดงความเห็นด้วยความสุภาพ ถ้าเป็นครั้งแรกที่คุณโพสต์แสดงความเห็น อาจจะมีการคัดกรองเนื้อหาได้ การแสดงความคิดเห็นควรอยู่ในประเด็น ห้ามโจมตีใส่ร้ายบุคคลอื่น หรือทำลิงค์ไปยังเว็บไซต์ที่มีเนื้อหาไม่เกี่ยวข้องกัน ผู้ดูแลเว็บไซต์สามารถแก้ไขหรือลบความคิดเห็นได้ทุกกรณี


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