Being a broadcast journalist is stressful with split-second deadlines and live shots. You voiceover folks have deadlines, too, and the added stress of constantly finding new work. So how about a new, fun way to relieve stress so you won’t burn out?
Lots of medical journal articles are reporting that animals are the newest thing for stress relief. For example, The Journal of Vascular and Interventional Neurology presented a study that showed cat owners are 37% less likely to die from a heart attack than non cat owners. There’s even a new “cat cafe” here in D.C., and it’s part of a trend based on scientific evidence that being around pets and engaging with them makes us healthier.
We all know therapy dogs help in nursing homes and with people suffering from PTSD, but it appears pets can help us all.
Petting an animal lowers heart rate and blood pressure in adults and children. One study in the Western Journal of Medicine showed that just being in the presence of a dog without touching it or interacting with it lowered children’s blood pressure. Even watching fish in an aquarium or birds in a cage lowered stress.
Why does this happen? When you interact with a pet, cortisol, which is a stress hormone associated with depression and anxiety, drops, and at the same time we get a burst of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone. That’s a great combination for being less stressed, sleeping better, and staying healthier. No doubt those benefits will make you better at your job and happier!
Obviously, you need to select a pet that works with your lifestyle, and you need to train it so it doesn’t increase stress. But there’s lots of evidence to back up the old adage, “Happiness is a warm puppy!”
(Special thanks to my cat, Queenie, for posing for the photo!)