How an Emotional Support Animal Can Help People with Anxiety

Emotional Support Dog

If you suffer from debilitating anxiety, getting an ESA dog can help you to lower your stress levels and increase your motivation. An ESA dog will offer support in a way that is not judgmental as you challenge yourself to take care of it. Moreover, having a dog is one of the easiest ways to strike up conversations with strangers.

Although dog ownership is not for everyone, dogs have been proven as effective for relieving stress in people. Dogs give people so much joy that there are support dogs given specifically for companionship.


Open Your Gateways of Trust

Because people with social anxiety are afraid of being shamed, criticized, and judged, they have a hard time maintaining close relationships with others. An ESA is criticism-free and judgment-free, which means that it can provide the first milestone to building open and genuine connections. Looking into the eyes of your dog is the best way to increase your bond and trust levels.

This connection will help you to open the pathways that had closed up due to social anxiety. Knowing that you can form a bond with a living thing will alleviate some of the fears caused by anxiety.


Gain More Confidence and Purpose

Since dogs love and trust unconditionally, you will feel more responsible when you start caring for yours. A dog will depend on you for companionship, food, and exercise, which gives you a reason to press on and fight the challenges you face. According to recent studies, having a sense of purpose will lower your anxiety and stress.

When you pet a dog, you will feel comfort that surpasses anything you have ever felt. Studies have also shown that spending a few minutes with a dog increases your oxytocin levels while decreasing your cortisol levels. This is why many employers are hiring therapy dogs to promote the mental health and wellbeing of their employees during stressful work periods.


Exercise Your Spirit

Walking a dog is the best way to improve your mental health because you will inhale some fresh air. However, people who suffer from anxiety can have a hard time finding the motivation to walk around the neighborhood for fear of running into someone they know. Although it will not be easy, your love for your dog will motivate you to get out of the house and interact with other human beings.

You should let your ESA dog be your hiking and jogging friend for daily motivation and boost – the dog will love it.


Promote Natural Conversation

Dogs are wonderful workout friends and they come in handy if you want to stir up a conversation. Although this might seem scary at first, the interactions that you have with strangers when walking your dog will prepare you for lengthier conversations. You can meet a fellow dog lover at the park and start a conversation that revolves around your furry friends – such lighthearted conversations are good in helping you to conquer your fears.

According to some studies, the chances of a stranger interacting with you when you have a dog are much higher than when you are alone. This means that having an ESA can help you to break the ice and overcome your social anxiety much faster. When it comes to integrating yourself into society, you need to take things slowly instead of rushing into it.

If your social anxiety is so bad that you would rather stay indoors, you should speak to a mental health professional about getting an emotional support animal. The professional will ask you some questions to determine whether you need an ESA before giving you a letter.