It is not a secret that having a furry friend, like a dog or a cat, helps people who are facing significant medical challenges and the elderly. New research from Miami University in Ohio finds that pets boost self-esteem and boost the well-being of younger and healthy people, as well. The study learned that pet owners had higher levels of self-esteem and were less fearful and preoccupied than people who didn’t own a pet. These qualities are directly connected to improved health habits and enjoying a longer life.
“People who were close to their pets were also closer to their friends and relatives,” said lead researcher Allen R. McConnell, Ph.D. “Plus, they got the most benefit if they saw humanlike qualities in their pets.”
If it is not possible at this point in your life to get a dog or cat, consider volunteering at a local humane society or offer to walk your friend’s dog, or play with your neighbor’s cat. Your health will thank you!