Have you noticed a connection between spending time with your dog and feeling more relaxed and less stressed? You’re not alone.
You may have heard about a hormone called cortisol, which is released when we're stressed out, and is often coupled with heightened blood pressure. Over time, these factors can lead to high cholesterol and hypertension. Luckily, reducing stress can be as simple as interacting with a dog, which significantly lowers cortisol levels and improves your immune system’s functions.
A study found that when people took care of dogs for just three months, they showed significant drops in blood pressure and reactivity to stress. The days their ambulatory blood pressure fell the lowest were the days they took their dogs to work.
Aaron Katcher, M.D., the emeritus professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, explains that because humans evolved solving problems about animals, animals have the power to entrain our attention. “When we are around animals, we become more joyous, communicative, expressive, and calm,” he says.
Hopefully this information sheds light on the powerful role your dog plays in your life.
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