• Thu, Dec 6 2012

Aww: Picturing Your Pet Can Soothe Stress And Boost Productivity

how to reduce stress

How could I not feel less stressed looking at this face?!

Two related experiments have found that merely thinking about your pet can reduce your stress levels and make you more productive. So, basically…everyone who doesn’t have one should go out and get a pet right now (says the girl who freely admits she’s obsessed with her dog).

According to the Scientific American, which reported on the experiments published in the Journal of Research in Personality:

Either the subject had a pet nearby, simply thought about a pet or, in the control group, had no pet involvement. In the first experiment, participants were asked to come up with a list of goals and assess their confidence in attaining them. Those who had their pet in the room or on their mind identified more goals and felt more self-confident about them than the control group. In the second experiment, subjects performed a distressing cognitive task while their blood pressure was assessed. Both pet groups had lower blood pressure during the task than the control group.

Good news, right? Not necessarily surprising, but kind of a win for animal lovers, I think. I work from home, so I spend a lot of time with my dog, the dachshund pictured above (SO CUTE, RIGHT?!). I don’t know that having him around boosts my productivity per se, but being able to take a break and hang out with him for a few minutes definitely helps my stress levels. Just looking at his hot dog-like body and cute shiny eyes makes me melt, which according to this study is a great thing for my mental health.

Research has also shown that owning a pet can reduce depression, as well as boost your immune system, so there’s lots of health benefits of pets. Clearly, the lesson here is to get yourself a pet if you don’t already have one (if you’re not animal averse or allergic, that is).

Photo via Carrie Murphy

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