The Effect of Pet Ownership on Graduate Student Stress

Students are people who undergo significant and constant stress since they usually need to take care of multiple things such as studies, grades, work, family, and many other things. Graduate students bear even more responsibilities and, thus, are prone to more negative effects of constant stress. 

Potential ways to reduce stress include various hobbies, sports activities such as yoga, meditation, art practices – and owning a pet as well. Multiple studies prove the fact that our furry friends really change our lives for the better. Graduate students can try playing with a dog before the exam for just 10 minutes and experience a significant improvement in mood, which is good for concentration. Yes, there was an actual field study to prove this point and the grades were real as well. Let’s see what exactly is meant when people claim that pets help to reduce stress.

Why Is Stress Dangerous?

Challenging, terrifying, difficult, highly emotional and a myriad of other situations have a significant impact on our health and mood. Stress as the integral part of many such situations inflicts multiple negative consequences for human health on all levels – from physical to mental. It is especially dangerous for students because stress affects many areas that directly influence their capability to learn and, thus, the potential to build a decent life in the future. More specifically:

  • Risk of developing anxiety and depression
  • Health pathologies such as high blood pressure or heart problems
  • Negative effect on memory functionality
  • Acceleration of the effects of memory aging 
  • Reduced cognitive functioning and development

How Pets Reduce Stress

Pet owners often claim that animals can provide more support and stress relief than people during tough times. They do not undermine social support, friendship, and love, but owning a dog or cat adds even more value to their lives. Studies show that pet ownership positively benefits both the physical and mental health of students. That’s what animals do to relieve stressful factors:

  • Improve Mood: Calmness and cheerfulness are among the major feelings that students expressed after playing sessions with a therapy dog. Physical interactions are essential here because just watching videos with dogs didn’t result in noticeable mood improvements. That’s why dogs are commonly used in therapy sessions to help people deal with anxiety and depression. So, it is time to ask experts to write my research paper and dedicate this free time to some animal-assisted activities. Taking care of one’s mental health is essential as many tasks and situations require strength and resilience.
  • Encourage Exercise: Dog owners already know what that means. Yes, they do need to walk their dogs regardless of the weather and their desire to sleep an hour more. It doesn’t mean that people with other pet friends such as chinchillas or parrots usually avoid going for a walk. It means that dogs don’t leave any choice – and that’s exactly what their owners eventually feel grateful for. Going for a walk is good for one’s overall health, especially when it is done regularly. Going for a walk with a furry friend adds more to it, such as a sense of companionship.
  • Provide Social Support: Casually walking with a dog usually results in a meeting with another dog owner. While animals play together, people can stop, get acquainted, and make small talk. Who knows, this might be a beginning of a new friendship. Dog owners are more sociable and open to other people, research suggests. Having more social interactions with positive people has a positive influence on one’s mood. Graduate students who suffer from stressful conditions should give this opportunity a try.
  • Ensure Company and Love: Pet owners are not alone. The feeling of loneliness can be eased by simply thinking about your dog, cat, or bird. Even the feeling of sadness inflicted by the absence of close people can be decreased. Just take your dog for a walk and let that companionship heal you. It will not replace the relationship with close people, it is something entirely different. You have another soul to take care of, and who is completely dependent on you, which means you cannot start self-destruction.
  • Increase Self-Esteem: Needless to say, graduate students, do need high self-esteem to perform well. Everybody does. But low self-esteem for a student who has many approaching exams and course papers means procrastination, low productivity, and, eventually, subpar academic performance. Some aspects can be fixed using external help because free essay samples at TopEssayWriting will always be useful to guide students on how to write original decent papers. But lack of knowledge during offline and online exams will be devastating for one’s GPA. The suggestion to take a dog for a walk to start fixing the situation is not something irrelevant. It is the possibility to start with something small and pleasant to gather some strength and overcome more complex obstacles. 

Benefits for Your Pets

It would be selfish to think about pets as the solution to one’s psychological problems or protection against heart disease. And pet owners usually perfectly understand it. Their favorite animals are more than just pets, they are treated as friends or even family members. The cooperation is mutually beneficial because, in return for help with overcoming the consequences of stress, animals receive constant care, food, proper physical exercise, protection, treatment, and, of course, their owners’ love. We could call them all companions at this point and it will not be an exaggeration. 

A Final Word from Happy Pet Owners

Owning a pet isn’t for everyone because it means responsibility and everyday work. This can be treated as an additional stressful factor but all the benefits are worth the effort. Having a dog as your best friend will add even more support, love, and happiness to your life than you had before as well as reduce stress.