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Animals: The Solution to Stress?

Lanie Render, Contributor

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As finals roll around at BV West, the stress level for students is extremely high. Deadlines, final grades, and the nagging of your parents can be heard in many households and students need a outlet. How to deal with this anxiety? My answer is pets.

Whether you are a dog person, a cat person, or prefer your gold fish, animals are a great way to deal with stress. In a 2001 study by Hypertension, it was shown that playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol. Scientists have proven that animals have the ability to reduce your blood pressure and promote a tranquil environment.

Junior Mo Hartnett taught her dog to hug so it brings her joy when her companion hugs back. Not only does the affection calm Hartnett, but the dog seems to relax when with her owner.

“She calms down when we hug so it feels like we both are relieving stress,” Hartnett said.

Playing with animals can relieve many of your stressors, and what to do if you don’t have an animal at home? Visit your local animal shelter and ask a owner about volunteer with animals. Wayside Waifs, for example welcomes individuals who would play or walk the dogs. You can allow the dog to get out their energy while you reduce your own stress.

Im not saying petting a dog is the cure all of stress, but it can definitely relieve some of the pressures of life.

Photo courtesy Wayside Waifs


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