How pets can help body image

 

Do you own a pet? If so, how does being around your pet make you feel?

If you’re anything like me, being around an animal is hugely beneficial for your mood.

AND, I’ve recently come across some interesting findings that suggest being around pets is good for body image too!

In this post, I’m exploring what it is about our furry friends that boosts body confidence.

Watch or read below:

 

Benefits of pet ownership

I have to admit that pets and body image are two of my favourite things to talk about.

I therefore couldn’t resist sharing how pets can have a beneficial impact on the way you feel about your body.

Pets have helped me through some pretty low times, including when I felt that I was worthless because of the way that I looked.

My own experience is supported by therapists working with individuals suffering from poor body image.

Therapists have reported that for some patients, connecting with a pet has helped build their self-esteem and create a more positive body image.

How pets help body image

It’s thought that pets can help improve body image for four main reasons:

Pets don’t judge

They aren’t critical, and they give their love and attention freely – especially in the case of dogs.

Your pet isn’t going to look you up and down critically or make a comment on your weight or appearance!

Pets help you to ‘just be’

Animals naturally live in the moment, which encourages us to do the same.

Being in the moment is an effective way to deal with negative thoughts, particularly about your body.

When you’re focused in the here and now, you have less head-space for negative thinking.

Pets build connection

I most often found myself turning to a pet when I felt let down or badly treated by people.

Having some other living creature to turn to and feel loved and heard really helped.

Building connection with another living creating in this way helps build self-esteem and a more positive body image.

♥ Pets can lower stress levels 

If you’re experiencing body anxiety or feeling stressed about some aspect of your appearance, playing with or stroking an animal increases the level of the stress reducing hormone oxytocin and reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Building furry friends into your life

Now while pets are great for body image and other health related matters, I’m certainly not advocating that you get a pet if you don’t have the time, space or resources to be able to properly care for one.

BUT, if you already have a pet, make sure you are tapping into the support they have to offer you when you’re experiencing anxiety about your body.

OR, if you don’t have a pet, but know someone who does, you might want to think about how you can spend more time with them to experience the benefits to your body image and self-esteem!

I’d love to hear how being around pets helps you and your body image.  Please leave a comment below.

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