There’s nothing better than coming home after a long day and being enthusiastically welcomed by your furry friend. Your dog loves you and clearly gets a lot of joy and happiness from being around you, and of course, that feeling is mutual. You can’t help but smile at your pup’s waggly tail, earnest affection, and goofy antics. But did you know that there is scientific evidence that spending time around your dog isn’t just fun and heartwarming — it’s good for you? Check out these science-backed mental health benefits you get from hanging out with your barkiest best friend.
1. Stress Relief
Spending time with a canine companion creates a dramatic reduction in stress that lasts up to 10 hours, say researchers in the journal Stress and Health. They found that even a brief interaction tamps down the production of cortisol — the stress hormone that hinders blood sugar – controlling insulin and triggers fat deposits around the belly.
2. Increased Focus
Scientists have found that the presence of a therapy pet in the classroom has proven to increase engagement and improve memory. In fact, a study at Georgia Southern University found that pups in class leads to improved gross motor skills and higher literacy rates.
3. Feelings of Joy
A study conducted at the University of Maine found that participants who spent time with a dog experienced boosts of cheerfulness and feelings of well-being. The best part? All it takes is 15 minutes of puppy love to bump up levels of happiness and satisfaction while nixing negativity.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.