Meta Description: Explore the main reasons why people prefer to work with animals and get to know the most important advantages of these professions - zootherapy, rehabilitation benefits, antistress, and others.

How working with animals can positively affect your mental health

In a hectic world where we live under constant stress, it is very important to find calm and peace of mind for psychological health. One of the most powerful and, of course, interesting ways to achieve this balance is communication with animals. Whether it’s the gentle touch of a dog, the soothing purr of a cat, or the soothing sound of birds, animals have a beneficial effect on our mental health. This phenomenon is called zootherapy.

Many people, when choosing a profession, choose to work with animals for precisely the reasons that you will read in this article. At the same time, there are professions. There are a lot of jobs related to animals - you can see this on Jooble where people often look for work. But let’s look at why working with animals is so desirable.

The power of connection with animals

Since ancient times, man has been connected with the animal world. Relationships with animals go beyond simple communication; they touch deeper layers of our emotional world. It has been found that communication with animals causes the release of oxytocin (commonly called the “love hormone”), which helps reduce stress. The very act of stroking an animal can lower the heart rate and induce a state of mental peace. Zootherapy is a treatment method using domestic animals (dogs, horses, dolphins, rabbits, cats, birds, etc.). In recent years, this method has become widespread in psychology. The presence of animals has been proven to stimulate the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers that promote feelings of happiness and euphoria. In addition, animals are a source of unconditional support and create a safe space in which a person can express their emotions without fear of criticism.

Zootherapy in practice

Animal therapy has shown promising results in relieving symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Communication with animals also helps to overcome feelings of loneliness.

Children with autism and zootherapy

Children with autism often have difficulty with social interaction. Zootherapy, which involves interacting with animals, helps develop their communication skills.

Physical rehabilitation

Animal-assisted therapy is good in the context of physical rehabilitation. The presence of animals distracts from pain and discomfort and promotes the recovery process.

Conversation without words

The magic of zootherapy lies in the way humans and animals communicate. This form of communication goes beyond words. There is something else here: intuition, body language, and emotional intimacy. Animals have an amazing ability to capture human emotions, selflessly offering them comfort and affection in difficult times.

3 conclusions of scientists

Dogs and cats help reduce stress

Japanese scientists have found that when communicating with dogs, their owners undergo the same chemical processes in their brains as during contact with loved ones - the hormone oxytocin is released in large quantities. It helps reduce stress and fear, increases empathy, and even improves digestion. According to an Australian study, cats have a similar effect on the human brain. After surveying 92 cat owners, scientists found that on average they felt a little happier and more confident, less nervous, and more accepting of problems than those who didn’t have cats.

Caring for a pet can prevent depression

But it’s not just pets that you can pet that help - having a living creature that needs to be taken care of is important. An experiment by Korean scientists showed that insects can also be useful. Nursing home residents received a box with five grasshoppers, food for them, and instructions on how to properly care for the unusual pets. After eight weeks, the researchers conducted tests for anxiety, geriatric depression, and general mental health. It turned out that depression scores in grasshopper owners were significantly lower than in people in the control group, which was not given insects.

Dog and cat owners get better sleep

Don’t rush to kick your dog out of bed: according to scientists, its presence can improve the quality of sleep. Among 962 women who participated in a survey conducted by researchers from the United States, dog owners were found to have healthier sleep. Unlike cats or spouses, they were less likely to wake them at night. Dog owners’ sleep is positively affected by the fact that they usually get up and go to bed at the same time to take their pets for a walk. In addition, interacting with your dog throughout the day reduces the level of cortisol, which excites the nervous system. But having a cat in bed also has benefits. One study found that cat purring at frequencies between 25 and 150 hertz has a calming effect.

The bond between humans and animals is intense. Zootherapy serves as a confirmation of this connection. The next time you find solace in the company of your furry friend, remember that you’re not just petting an animal — you’re taking care of your own mental well-being, too.