When you have a personal setback and find that you need some help when it comes to getting back on track, you might think that going to speak to a therapist is the automatic answer. And while this is a great idea and one that can and will definitely help you, do you know that other things can help you move forward? Some people think that moving to a new house or transitional housing after living in a rehab center is enough, but pets and plants can also help you in your recovery.
Animals have a natural healing presence. Not only are they great to have around the house for petting, not to mention their level of cuteness, but that time that you spend with your pets is actually proven to emotionally help those who are going through an emotional and personal setback, including a particularly traumatic and emotionally distressing event.
- Studies have shown that interaction with animals can make you feel emotionally better by releasing a “happy” chemical. While humans aren’t always reliable, a pet is always present, offering the type of connection and support that can really make all the difference when going through a difficult time. Simply knowing that they are there can make all the difference and increase oxytocin, which prevents the production of stress hormones, lowers blood pressure, and slows down the heart rate. While there is more to recovering from a personal setback than just various hormone and chemical levels, getting your stress hormones under control can help in the battle against poor mental health and negative emotions experienced following a traumatic ordeal.
- Pets also greatly help provide a regular schedule and a sense of purpose and help you make it through the day. After all, a pet is a living, breathing creature, and having a routine of walking, feeding, and playing can make you feel better. This is especially true on those days when you don’t feel like doing anything, and you would much rather stay in bed all day – after all, someone depends on you.
More than just making great accessories and looking aesthetically pleasing, there are many other benefits to having household plants, both indoors and in the garden or outdoor space, should you have one. There is a strong connection more than ever between plants and self-care, helping to make our surrounding air cleaner and generally enhancing and creating a greater sense of peace and well-being.
- Plants are known to reduce stress, which is ideal for recovering from a traumatic event, personal setback, or need some much-needed rest. Much like with animals, spending time in nature with various plants can reduce high blood pressure, slow down your heart rate, and lower anxiety overall while speeding up the recovery process from mental fatigue.
- Studies have also shown how being surrounded by plants can result in fewer symptoms of post-traumatic stress and depression. Groups of natural disaster victims and veterans who participated in nature-based rehabilitation programs better control symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and have more positivity. Other researchers have discovered that this results in fewer symptoms of depression after going for a rural nature walk and being surrounded by nature than those who passed through an urban environment.