There is absolutely nothing like dealing with the loss of a loved one. When you lose your partner, your soulmate, your confidant, your other half…it is like someone removed half your body. According to many who share in this pain, it is almost unbearable. You not only have to deal with being alone, but you also have the haunting reminder that the one person you saw yourself living with until you both grew old, is gone. Psychologists say this stress causes many to become very depressed and looking for an answer to fill the hole in their heart.
Researchers from the Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy at Florida State University, Tallahassee, analyzed data on adults ages 50 and older and found that those who experienced spousal loss without a pet experienced more depression and loneliness than those who had a cat or a dog. As a result, the researchers concluded that—for this age group at least—having a companion animal “may buffer against the detrimental consequences of major social losses on psychological health.”
“Our findings suggest that pets could help individuals avoid the negative consequences of loneliness after a loss,” Dawn Carr, an associate professor of sociology at Florida State University and lead author of the study, said in a press release. “You can talk to your dog. They’re not going to tell you you’re a bad person, they’re just going to love you. Or you can pet your cat, and it’s calming.”
Knowing someone will be home to greet you and that needs you gives you a reason to get up in the morning and to want to be home. They need you, they need your love and affection, and you need theirs.
Owning a pet will help you stay in the present and not dwell as much on the past or fears of the future.
Pets serve as constant reminders to live in the moment because it is the only way they know how to live. While us humans ruminate over the past and worry about the future, pets simply live in the here and now. Their focus is on whatever is directly in front of them. Pets appear to be simple creatures but in many ways, they are much wiser than their owners. Next time you’re on a walk with your dog or sitting quietly with your cat, remember to stop, look around, and take in the beauty of the moment.
Ref. MSN/health/BESTLIFE, chopra.com
Photo courtesy of Bing via today.com