Impact Of Dogs On Mental And Physical Health

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By James Shore

dogsilouetteA dog is man’s best friend and best friends can never see you in pain. Latest studies have shown how dogs and cats at offices improve the work performance of employees. Moreover, the strong bonding of man with a dog is known for a long time.

Pets have positive effects on our mind and body health. They help us live life to the optimum and teach us to love unconditionally. Dogs have been known to bring a lot of changes in owner’s life. Dogs can help you improve your mental health in various ways:

Reduced Level of Stress:

Studies conducted by Aaron Katcher, a psychiatrist at Pennsylvania University, and Alan Beck, a psychologist at Purdue University, around 30 years ago measured the physical changes in people who regularly pet their dog. The gestures of care lower the blood pressure, slow down the heart rate, regularize the breathing rate and relax the tension in muscles—which indicate low-stress levels.

However, if your long-haired furball sheds a lot, no need to worry as there are some amazing pet vacuums that can clean up the mess. Find pet vacuums here.

Some studies that were published in Psychosomatic Medicine Journal show the analysis and observations of the researchers and there was seen a reduction in stress hormones, which had better mental health effects. Moreover, petting a dog works way faster than a medicine to reduce stress.

Reduced Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Level:

Pets have positive health effects on their owners by improving the quality of their lives and by reducing the risk of developing various chronic diseases. Studies have shown that pet owners have low blood pressure and cholesterol level in comparison with the non-pet-owners.

Dog owners have to take the pooch for walks, which reduces the risk of stress, anxiety, depression, and hypertension in them. Studies have shown that daily walk routines decrease the risk of chronic diseases.

Reduced Risk of Heart Problems

Pets help reduce the chances of cardiac diseases. A study published in American Journal of Cardiology showed that out of 400 patients who suffered a heart attack, dog owners had greater survival rate than the non-dog-owners.

It is due to a reduction of stress hormones, and an increase in the release of happy hormones while petting the dog that increased the chances of improving the health of dog owners.

Reduced Risk of Depression:

Besides stress, depression and anxiety are growing problems in the present society. Depression is seen as a disease that socially disables you and physically blocks your strengths. It’s a mental disease that puts you at a higher risk of developing cardiac diseases.

Loneliness is the top-most reason behind depression. Dogs are faithful companions that never leave your side. The love you’ll share with the Fido will increase the levels of dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins, and serotonin—the happy hormones. Do you still think there will be some space for depression?

Increased Social Behavior:

Socialization is a positive change in a dog owner’s life that turns it upside-down. The gloomy images in the mind are replaced by happy images and memories.

Social support is necessary for mental health, emotional strength and physical well-being. It creates confidence in the shy and anti-social people.

Dogs create opportunities for the owners to socialize during a walk or a visit to the dog park. It helps them develop a social circle and be more communicative and expressive about themselves. Such social interactions positively impact the human mind by boosting self-esteem and self-confidence. Moreover, depression will only become a “word” in your life’s dictionary.

– James is a part-time dog-trainer and dog behavior consultant with years of experience in dog training and the man behind LabradorTrainingHQ.com. He is interested in finding out fun ways to handle dog behaviors, specifically, Labradors to help dog-owners enjoy their companions at all times.

 

Changing Little Things In Your Life To Make A Big Impact

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By Stephanie Green

womanarmupWhen it comes to making changes in your life sometimes it can feel overwhelming. You know that you need to change certain things about your behaviors and habits that negatively impact your life but getting started seems like too big of a hurdle to cross. Instead of looking at the big picture, however, it is much easier to start small and work your way up. Just like you would not expect to be able to run a marathon without working up to it you can’t expect to make huge life changes all at once. Here are some little things you can change to improve your life in big ways:

1. Getting fit – When most of us think about getting fit we picture hours at the gym and spending time we don’t have to do hard work we don’t want to do. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Getting fit can start as simply as five minutes a day. Just five minutes. For me that means before I go to lunch I shut my office door and do some sit-ups, push-ups and leg lifts. That’s it. Just five minutes of that and I move on to lunch. No one notices and it doesn’t make an impact on my schedule, but it has started to make an impact on my waistline. Another thing you can do is go for a walk after dinner. Instead of plopping down on the couch try to work off some of that food on a casual twenty minute walk around the neighborhood. It will be done in no time and you can get back to your night.

2. Planning ahead – Getting organized and staying on top of things seems overwhelming. There is so much to do and so little time to do it. When I don’t plan ahead and prioritize I find myself getting overwhelmed. However I though planning ahead was too much to add to my plate. Gradually I learned that if you stop and take care of the small things immediately and write down a list of the big things it really helps. Once I have a list I can prioritize what needs to get done by level of urgency and time constraints. Then things just seem to fall into place. I can take care of what needs to be done now and already have a plan for what is going on later. It takes off a lot of stress, worry and wasted effort.

womantwisting3. Being in the now – Last but not least focus on being in the now. I was always so worried about the future or feeling guilty about the past that I never existed in the present. By shifting my focus to now I can deal with things in a timely manner and not be held back by my previous mistakes. I can also make a plan for the future and then set it aside because it is already taken care of. Whew, what a relief!

These are just a few suggestions for small things you can do to make a big impact on your life. Start small and simply and do one thing at a time. You will find that everything gets done and with far less stress.

– Stephanie has many years of experience as a nanny. She has always loved children and has continuously been involved in childcare activities. Currently she is one of the writers for houstonnanny.com. If you want to get in touch with her, you can email her at – stephanie.Houstonnanny@gmail.com.

Mom’s Eating Habits Can Impact Obesity Risk For Preschoolers

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kidseatinghealthyFrom Your Health Journal…..”Psych Central is quickly becoming one of my favorite web sites to plug – as they have some excellent, well-written, and educational articles. Recently, I found an article on their site called Mom’s Eating Habits Can Impact Obesity Risk For Preschoolers written by Dr. Rick Nauert. We have discussed so many times on this blog the importance of adults/parents in the lives (and their health) of children. When I speak to most children, and ask them who their number one role model is regarding eating healthy and exercise – the answer…..my parents. We know how children today have become very sedentary, eat quickly and poorly, less sleep, and less physical activity due to technology. We also know how many children suffer from obesity related illnesses including heart disease, cancer, weak joints, and type 2 diabetes. Today’s article suggest that we no longer worry about scarcity of food, but the abundance of it, where children are told to clear what is in their plate rather than eat until you feel full. So many times, children are even given adult size portions to eat, not suitable for their size. So, change is needed. Please visit the Psych Central web site (link provided below) to read the complete article, and many other wonderful articles.”

From the article…..

New research suggests role modeling is a significant factor in a preschooler’s risk for obesity.

While sugary drinks, lack of exercise and genetics are popular villains for the growing number of overweight American children, researchers from Washington State University show a mom’s eating habits and behavior at the dinner table can influence her preschooler’s obesity risk.

Halley Morrison and Tom Power, chair of the WSU Department of Human Development analyzed surveys of 222 low-income African-American and Latino Head Start preschoolers and caregivers in a U.S. Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service Children’s Nutrition Research Center study.

The findings are published in the journal Appetite.

“The problem is no longer food scarcity, but too much food,” Morrison said. “It doesn’t cost families extra to change their behavior.”

Morrison found that moms who eat when they are already full and also show a high level of control when feeding their kids — for example, by pushing children to finish what’s on their plate or withholding food until the next meal — tend to produce picky eaters.

Meanwhile, moms who eat in response to their emotions or who are easily tempted by the sight, scent or taste of food had children with a strong desire to eat.

“Like mother, like child,” Morrison said. “This is especially true when kids are so young their environment is primarily based on what their parents are doing.” Nearly 17 percent of U.S. children between ages 2 and 19 are obese.

While past research has focused mainly on middle-class European-American families, Morrison said the demographic focus on low-income families made this particular study unique. Obesity rates among preschoolers are highest in African-American and Latino populations: 21 and 22 percent, respectively.

The results from the study suggest a family can alter eating behaviors to reduce obesity risk and associated health problems like high blood pressure, respiratory issues and sleep apnea.

To read the full article…..Click here