Cute dogCredit: MorgueFile

Can a wagging tail or a purr help people who suffer from depression and anxiety? It sure can! Here are five ways that loving and taking care of an animal can lift your spirits:

Pets don't judge:

One of the most beautiful aspects of the relationship between pets and owners is that pets offer non judgemental affection and companionship. They don't care about all of the mistakes that you may feel guilty about. All they want is love and affection. That form of uncomplicated love can go a long way in easing your stress and anxiety.

They encourage you to exercise:

This is especially true for dog owners. Dogs love to go play and go for walks. Playing with them can be a great excuse to go outside and get some physical activity in. Excercise can be a great antidote to anxiety and depression as it generating pleasure-inducing endorphins in the body.

They give your life a routine:

Having a routine, structured life can greatly help people who are suffering from depression and anxiety. Pets have a natural, inbuilt routine. They need to eat, go for walks, poop etc., and normally need to do that a set times during the day. This helps to give an owner some structure to their day and gives them less time for focus on what they're depressed about.

Thy enhance your sense of responsibility:

You might think it would be hard to take care of another living thing when you can't take care of yourself. But taking care of a pet can give you the extra motivation you need to get out of bed in the morning and to take care of yourself. After all, you can't keep a pet healthy, if it's human is in bad shape.

They can help you meet people:

People who are depressed tend to live an isolated life but pets can help to increase social interaction. Pet owners tend to find it easy to connect with other owners. They can even give you a topic to talk about when you're out on a walk, or at the vet's office.

Pets and depression survival are inextricably linked. So if you're feeling depressed, it may be time for you to get a pet. You'll have a companion for life and a greater sense of well being.