Volunteering with animals can boost your mental health through various means, both direct and indirect.

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It can reduce your stress and anxiety

Interacting with animals has been shown to lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and increase oxytocin which promotes feelings of calm and relaxation.

Increased happiness and mood improvement is a key benefit

Spending time with animals can stimulate the production of serotonin and dopamine. These are neurotransmitters that play a key role in mood regulation and feelings of pleasure.

Alleviation of loneliness is beneficial

Animals offer companionship and unconditional love, which can help reduce feelings of loneliness and social isolation. This is particularly beneficial for older or vulnerable people who live alone or lack strong social networks.

Responsibility and Care of Animals

Taking care of animals instils a sense of responsibility. This sense of duty can translate to a more conscientious approach to health, including the careful handling and administration of medication. For training in the safe handling of medication, employees and volunteers can take advantage of training courses such as tidaltraining.co.uk/health-and-social-care-courses/safe-handling-of-medication-training.

Enjoy community and social interaction

Volunteering with animals often involves social interaction with other volunteers and staff, thus creating a good support network. According to the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, a volunteer was recently thanked for a quarter-century of dog-walking, whatever the weather, at an animal shelter in Northamptonshire. By participating in such activities, people can enhance their mental health while making a positive impact on the lives of animals.

It can promote learning and growth

Volunteering with animals can provide opportunities to learn about animal behaviour, care and welfare, fostering personal growth and development.

Enjoy routine and structure which leads to confidence-building

Caring for animals often requires a structured routine, which can help people develop and maintain a consistent schedule. Having a routine can provide stability and predictability, which are beneficial for mental health.

Emotional comfort is a benefit

Animals can provide emotional comfort and act as non-judgmental listeners, which can be particularly soothing during times of distress or emotional upheaval.

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By ZsuNC

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