10 min read

Pets Are Like Superheroes For People With Anxiety

<p><a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/aww/comments/1vrz5a/my_boyfriend_rescues_great_pyrenees_dogs_bears/" target="_blank">Reddit/tattooedtwin<br></a></p>

Anxiety can be the worst. For people with anxiety disorders or even those who just get anxious a lot, there's often no way around it, but there are some ways to manage it. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms that work for them (and not every method works for every person), but sometimes, having a pet can help to curb anxiety.

No, pets can't talk, and maybe they don't know exactly what anxiety is, but animals are a lot more intuitive than people think. For a person with anxiety, a pet can do wonders.

Here are just a few small ways having a pet can be a fantastic thing for an anxious person:

A pet is always down to cuddle.

Contact with another being can do wonders to help anxiety. Maybe it helps you feel less alone, or less like you have to handle everything by yourself. Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, agrees with this, saying, "Holding and stroking a pet is calming for many people, even those without anxiety problems."

When your anxiety is all-consuming and you're freaking out, having your pet jump into your lap and begin to snuggle can really help bring you back down.

You have someone to listen to who won't offer advice.

Sometimes, you don't want advice. Not everyone understands anxiety, and many people think they can "fix" you. Even well-intentioned people think that a few pieces of good, sound advice will be enough to cure you of your fears, but, for some, anxiety is deeper than that.

A pet will never try to fix you. You can sit with your pet on the couch for hours and just rant, and she won't try to advise you or solve all your problems. There are times when you just want to talk, and you don't need anyone to say anything back. A pet will simply sit there and love you. And sometimes, that's all you need.

They offer an excellent distraction.

With anxiety, a small feeling can escalate into something huge very quickly. The tiniest thing might not be that big of a deal to some, but anxiety turns it into the apocalypse. It becomes all you can focus on.

When you have a pet around, you have to focus on him. "When we focus attention on taking care of a pet, it help takes our mind off of our own worries," Humphreys told The Dodo. As we all know, pets need a lot of care and attention. Your pet needs food and walks and love - all things you can focus on to distract you from your impending doom.

"Providing for the simple needs of a pet can create a feeling of mastery when everything else seems out of control or overwhelming," Humphreys said. A pet can be a great way to remind yourself, "Right, so maybe the world is ending. But, I still need to walk the dog."

There's always someone home with you.

When you have anxiety, being alone can be pretty nerve-racking. Every noise and flicker of light can set you on edge. When you have a pet around, dealing with the aloneness becomes a little bit easier. Having another body in the house with you, someone you can talk to in order to ease your nerves, can help so much more than you might think. When you have a pet, someone is always home, so really, you're never actually alone.

Playing with your pet can be a great way to clear your mind.

Yes, everything is stressful sometimes. Life is hard. Everything in the whole world makes you anxious. There are some moments, though, when you're taking your dog on a walk or your cat is going nuts over a piece of string, when you realize you aren't thinking about anything stressful or anxiety-provoking. Your mind is clear, and you're happy just making your pet happy. Those moments can be rare, but your pet is more than willing to help give them to you.

A pet will never judge you.

Never. You can be anxious and afraid around your pet, and she will never care. As long as you love and take care of your pet, she will still love you. So, you're anxious - so what? Your pet still thinks you're the best thing in the whole world, and that's something.

They can help with meeting new people.

Socializing and interacting can be super anxiety-provoking. Making friends and holding conversations can be a challenge, but your pet is here to help. Your puppy is adorable? Everyone who sees him will stop to tell you so.

"Some people find that being with a pet makes their anxiety at meeting strangers less," Humphrey's said. "A pet is also often a way into social interaction, like when you see someone walking a dog they may seem more approachable and also you have a conversation starter at hand. ('Is that a beagle?' 'Wow,what a beautiful coat of fur!,' 'What is your dog's name?')."

Your pet is an automatic conversation starter, the mutual friend between you and the world - and sometimes even a wingman. Hey, if it works, it works.

You never have to worry if your pet loves you or not.

Sometimes, it can feel like no one really likes you all that much. That's not true, of course. It's still hard to make yourself believe it, though. But when you come home and your pet comes running to you, you know one thing: as long as you have your pet, there will always be at least one person in the world who's on your side.

In fact, they'll always love you, no matter what.