In this article, I’m going to show you one of the most fascinating things on earth – how guinea pigs and animals in general, can impact your mental health because a lot of us underestimate the power these pets have on our brains.
- The Experiment
- Why do we need pets?
- Animals and Humans’ Stress Hormones
- Real Life Story – How Animals Saved Jeff
- How can you support them?
- What kind of animals can be Emotional Support Animals?
- How can I get a trained emotional support animal?
- Video Version
Did you know, As you’re looking at cute animal pictures are really good for your health?
A study conducted by the university of Leeds in the United kingdom did a quite interesting, and fun study on this. By asking people to watch cute animal videos.
In December of 2019, 19 students and 4 staff members were asked to watch a 30-minute montage of cute animals. The study was intentionally timed during winter exams, a time when people are naturally more stressed.
The scientists reported that all participants’ blood pressure dropped, their heart rates lowered by 6.5 percent, and their anxiety also went down by 35 percent.
I’m honestly not that surprised by this because watching my guinea pigs playing lowers my stress too.
Here are some guinea pig movie and TV shows recommendations to check out!
Why do we need pets?
Because as you’re watching this, many of us are stressed out and overwhelmed, yet also feel isolated and lonely at the same time. Sometimes you feel like people just don’t understand you.
More than 1 in 5 people are suffering from mental illness, and 1 in 3 people will be affected by a mental illness during their lifetime.
And there are times when we just don’t want to talk to other people or get out of the house, and that’s where animals come in.
Animals and Humans’ Stress Hormones
As we know, petting animals are proven to increase dopamine levels, making us feel less stressed and more happy. But just looking at your pets playing is a mindfulness activtiy too, so for those of you who wanted to try meditating but failed, this is a easier alternative.
I created a “Feel Better playlist” of videos you should watch if you’re having a bad day, especially if you love guinea pigs.
That’s not all. Many researchers have found that interacting with animals can decrease levels of cortisol, which is a stressed related hormone, They also help people with depression, anxiety, panic disorders, PTSD, and so much more.
A study shows that an astonishing 84 percent of post-traumatic stress disorder patients paired with a service dog reported a significant reduction in symptoms, and 40 percent were able to decrease their medications
Real Life Story – How Animals Saved Jeff
This is Jeff, a wonderful man who suffers from severe PTSD, seizures, migraines, and with a possibility of status epilepticus and lives alone. Life is, without a doubt, hard for him, to say the least.
Then, Ranger came into Jeff’s life. He was an amazing service dog that didn’t just alert Jeff minutes before he had a seizure so he could go to a safe place. Ranger also helped Jeff to face the world of so many challenges and kept him going. He was always there for Jeff no matter what.
When Ranger passed away, Jeff was devastated that his best friend was gone.
While grieving, his two unbelievably cute Guinea pigs, Schmoogie and Blumpkin, popcorned into his life as emotional support animals.
Jeff would spend all night feeding these potato-shaped furballs bamboo leaves.
” I KNOW it kept me from doing something drastic. Just feeding these little critters continuously and taking care of them meticulously kept me from drowning in my own tears,”Jeff
As someone healing from depression, I can relate to this a lot. And there’s just something so calming and magical about feeding guinea pigs that releases negative emotions we have inside, at least for a while.
After more than 2 years of Ranger’s passing, Jeff excitedly welcomed his new campaign, Major. Look how adorable he is! Major is a kind, intelligent, and loyal dog and is continuing to help Jeff through his seizures and so much more.
How can you support them?
It’ll mean a lot to me and Jeff if you can check out the stickers of Major in Jeff’s Etsy shop. All proceeds go to Major and the guinea pigs’ healthcare because we all know how expensive vet fees are.
The stickers also have a deep meaning, too. It says “ I got your six”.
What does ” I got your six” mean?
Let me explain. This is what’s called a clock code position. It’s commonly used in the military. Let’s say, you’re at the centre of the clock. If you are facing forward, straight ahead of you is 12 o’clock. Directly behind you, or your back, is your 6 o’clock.
So “ I got your Six”, is saying, “I got your back”. This is also to raise awareness of depression and PTSD.
These stickers are high quality and have very good reviews. Please check it out and share it for a good cause!
What kind of animals can be Emotional Support Animals?
The most common emotional support animals are dogs and cats, but small birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, and so much more animals also be registered as an emotional support animal (or ESA).
How can I get a trained emotional support animal?
To get an emotional support animal, you must have an ESA referral from a licensed health professional (sometimes called a “licensed mental health professional” or “LMHP”).
An ESA letter confirms that you have a disability and that an emotional support animal will alleviate the symptoms of that disability. Under federal law, this is the only legal way to classify a companion animal as an emotional support animal.
Here are some more links to register for a emotional support animal: