College seems like a fun time. Forming new experiences, escaping parental guidelines and making new friends…what could go wrong? In reality, the price of college may be your mental health. According to the American Psychiatric Association, over a third of college students surveyed experienced hopelessness, overwhelming anxiety and anger, and disabling depression; 7% considered suicide within the year 2011.
Having an unconditionally loving companion can increase your life satisfaction and get you through these four years. Experts agree that dogs can help with depression. WebMD explains that animals can improve your mood due to a number of reasons.
- Physical exercise: dogs don’t walk themselves! By exercising your animal, you look after your health as well.
- Confidence: looking after another living being is extra responsibility that can make you feel capable and valuable.
- Social lubricant: dogs can provide opportunities for interacting with others.
- Mammalian instinct: studies show that physical contact with others is soothing and can lower heart rate.
- Companionship: having a dog means you don’t have to feel lonely.
Pets in general help you live longer, healthier lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) found a link between pet ownership and heart health as pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
If you are a struggling college student, you can seek a furry friend to help you through your difficult times.
“College Students.” . http://www.psychiatry.org/college-students (accessed June 1, 2014).
Doheny, Kathleen. “Pets for Depression and Health.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/pets-depression (accessed June 2, 2014).
“Top 5 Health Benefits of Owning a Pet: Animal Planet.” Animal Planet. http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/benefits-of-pets.htm (accessed June 1, 2014).