Study: Happy Pet Thoughts Help Soothe Social Rejection

Diana Faria
by Diana Faria
A recent study asked participants to think of a stressful moment in their lives. To combat the uncomfortable memory, participants were immediately shown pictures of cats or dogs, and results found the majority of participants felt better.

Every person has their own personal way of getting through a difficult situation in their lives, whether they’re going through a death in the family of feeling a sudden swell of loneliness. That is to say that every person has their own coping mechanism in order to push past this difficult time.

The next time you feel down and out, the results from this study may be useful to make you feel a better. In a recent study by the Taylor & Francis Group, participants were asked to relive past experiences of social rejection or a physical injury in their lives. Once they recalled this moment, they were asked to name either a cat/dog, a person or a plastic toy.

Related: Just What The Doctor Ordered: The Health Benefits of Cats

Across all three studies, the results were that people’s feelings of social rejection were reduced when they were asked to name a cat or a dog. Naming a plastic toy, however, produced a similar effect however in another study, participants who had a tendency to anthropomorphize (that is, to attribute human characteristics to an animal or object) were asked to view only animals or toys. Participants who simply viewed pictures of dogs or cats (without even naming them) also experienced improved well-being.

The lead author of the study, Christina M. Brown, said: “Those who are more predisposed to attribute entities with human like-characteristics would benefit from even the most minimal engagement with animals.”

Related: HABRI Proves Animals Provide Amazing Health Benefits

This just goes to show that even thinking about an adorable fur baby can really have an impact on how you’re feeling. While we’re by no means recommending this kind of “treatment” for those suffering with mental illness or serious conditions, it can be beneficial for those of us who have had a bad day or are reliving some stressful memories. Next time you feel like you’re being rained on and your day couldn’t get any worse, maybe thinking about a happy-go-lucky puppy or kitten can bring a silver lining to your day.

[ Source: Tandfonline ]

Diana Faria
Diana Faria

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