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ESA and Mental Health: How Are They Connected?

Have you ever been around a fluffy dog or cat? I bet your talking voice suddenly changes to a baby voice at the sight of them. I’m guilty of doing it all the time. You might have also observed that no matter the state of mind you are in, a wagging tail and a purring ball of fur takes you into a different world. At that moment, all you want to do is give it a rub and call it a good boy or girl. Ah! I feel happy just thinking about it. You do too? Do you know why?

Because animals can provide emotional support. They might not do it intentionally but there are a number of factors at play during the interaction between you and an animal that triggers happy feelings and calms the mind. Even if it is for a moment, the impact is real and can be felt.

At this time, when mental health is one of the most prominent issues in the United States, there is a need for the best medications and treatment. And a dog or cat may just be the much-needed treatment that we need. So, let’s talk about that. 

Emotional Support Animals: What are they?

The name itself gives out a lot of information about an ESA. When an animal is used as a means to provide or gain emotional support, it is called an emotional support animal. The owner of an ESA usually suffers from a psychological condition that requires an external stimulus to help them improve their state of mind. In this case, it is the physical presence of an animal that helps alleviate or relieve some aspects of a mental condition. 

The most common ESAs are dogs, cats and birds. However, there have been cases of people having the most unusual animals as an ESA such as peacock, snake and even a crocodile (whatever helps your mental state). 

The United States is one of the many countries that have proper laws laid down for people who need to use ESAs for their disabilities. The two primary ESA laws in the US are the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. 

Fair Housing Act law allows the owner of an ESA to live in a housing society without facing any prejudice for their medical condition. This includes living with an emotional support animal in an apartment. If your ESA is certified by a doctor, you can live with your ESA without having to pay any extra fee even in a society with a no pet policy. 

The Air Carrier Access Act allows the owner to keep their ESA with them in the cabin while traveling. No extra charges or questions asked. 

But, in order to take advantage of each of these ESA laws, you need to get your pet certified as an emotional support animal. You can visit your nearest licensed mental health professional and get your certification. 

How is an ESA Connected to Your Mental Health?

The state of your mental health depends on several factors. A fluctuation in these factors can affect your mood and mental state. If you need to improve this state of mental disturbance, an ESA can prove to be a great medical aid along with prescribed medications. 

All the changes in your body that contribute towards your ailment, an ESA can help improve most of them for you. It is one of the reasons why professional psychotherapists practice animal-assisted therapy as a part of their treatments. A doctor may even prescribe an ESA like a medication to their patients. So, yes, an emotional support animal is no hoax. It works and professionals back its importance and effectiveness. 

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The basic purpose of an ESA is to provide companionship to the owner. Most of the mental disorders are associated with symptoms that overwhelm the patient with negative thoughts. An ESA can counter this negativity by just being there for you. How? Let’s take a look.

They Fill You up With Happy Hormones

The moment you come in contact with an ESA, your body undergoes several hormonal changes. The most prominent change is related to your levels of stress. When you are feeling uncomfortable and stressed out, your cortisol levels rise. But, as soon as you pet a dog or a cat, the stress hormone lowers significantly. In a study, it was found that petting a dog or a cat for 15 minutes has an immediate effect on the psychological stress of students and even their blood pressure. And that’s not all that a brief encounter with a pet can do to you. 

emotional support animal letter

In addition to lowering the stress hormone, the touch and warmth of pets release serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine in the body. As a result, your mood stabilizes and the anxiety symptoms reduce due to lower heart rate and blood pressure. 

So whether you are stressed, feel anxious, depressed or nervous, spending some time with an ESA can help you get through the intense emotions. 

Increase Your Social Interactions

You might not believe it but an ESA can be a better wingman than your best friend. That’s right, having pets will increase your social interactions. Because who wouldn’t want to come to say hello to a beautiful dog or cat and their owner? The best part is that they not only help break the ice but also make the entire process easier. So, even if you suffer from social anxiety, you will be surprised at how easy it is to be around people with your ESA. 

ESA

Your pets help you interact with others by being the subject of conversation. And the presence of your furry friend by your side while you talk to new people makes the situation less overwhelming.

They Are The Right Company

There are some days and moments when we do not feel like being around anyone. This is the time when an ESA is most beneficial. You can be around them, hug them and sleep together without feeling the need to talk or explain anything. And when you do need an ear for your thoughts, talking to your pet helps as they won’t judge you for anything. Though pets can’t talk, they can understand your facial expressions, gestures and voice tone and behave accordingly. 

They keep you distracted from all the negative thoughts. You get busy caring for them and enjoy their company so much that you keep yourself away from triggering situations and give rest to your mental health. This is one of the main reasons why people found dogs and cats to be the best companion during the quarantine. 

Improve Your Quality of Life

Your mental health is also related to the way you live your life. If your routine is all over the place and there is a lack of healthy habits in your life, your mental health will suffer. And yet again, pets will come to your rescue. If you have a pet already, you know that they are always on time. Whether it is the walks, playtime or mealtime, their clock never fails. So, taking care of an ESA will add some routine to your life too. 

In addition to this, pets need some sort of mental and physical exercise every day. They are dependent on you to provide them this stimulation. So, while you take care of their daily needs, you will be able to have some sort of physical and mental exercise too. 

And let’s not forget about the emotional and mental stability that they provide. They eliminate the feeling of loneliness and are always around to make you feel wanted. Basically, pets are a wholesome package that improves your overall well being. So, get your emotional support animal letter and take advantage of all the different benefits of an ESA. 

Don’t Believe Me? Hear it From The Celebrities

Even the most loved and protected celebrities suffer from negative feelings in their day to day life. And yes, they have emotional support animals too.

Selena Gomez is one of the popular names in the music, movies and makeup industry. And above all, she has been very vocal about her battle with mental health. This is one of the reasons why she keeps two very beautiful dogs with her to help her through the low times. She also had dogs on the sets of 13 Reasons Why to help uplift the dark mood. 

Ariana Grande is another celebrity who has publicly confessed to struggling with mental health. The hard blow to her came after the terrorist attack during one of her concerts in Manchester. She developed PTSD and found calm and emotional support in a tiny pig she named Piggy Smalls. 

The celebrated actor Ryan Gosling also had an emotional support dog named Geroge. He was a certified ESA that Gosling took on flights and movie sets. 

 

 

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Now you know that animals can give you the emotional support that you need. From celebrities to your next-door neighbor, everyone has a pet that helps them deal with intense emotions. So, stop struggling with your mental health. Get an ESA letter online and find your peace with a furry friend.

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