How an Emotional Support Animal Could Improve Your Wellbeing

The market for self-help and self-care is constantly coming out with new insights to improve wellbeing. One of the trending topics in the past few years has been emotional support animals.

Research studies have demonstrated the positive effects animals can have on human psychology. From boosting our serotonin to offering physical support, our pets aren’t simply there to look cute. 

Our animals have evolved to become more in tune with their owners’ needs, emotions, and states of mind. By reading our tone of voice, gestures, and body language, animals interpret our moods through verbal and non-verbal communication

It’s important to note that any animal requires a degree of care, but they can repay you with more than unconditional love and affection. Let’s find out how you could qualify for an emotional support animal. 

What Is an Emotional Support Animal? 

An emotional support animal is either an existing pet you want to declare as your emotional support companion or a future pet you want to take on for the same purpose. They offer a benefit to their owner, whether physical, emotional, or mental. 

Getting Started

First, you’ll need to learn how to get an ESA letter

An  ESA letter is a formally recognized document affirming that your animal is necessary to support your mental condition or disorder. The process is relatively simple. 

Have a chat with your doctor first, telling them how you’ve been feeling recently and how the support of a pet could help. They may refer you to a mental health specialist. Once approved, you will also need to pay for the letter. The cost does vary depending on where you are in the states, but on average, you’re looking at $200. 

Qualifying Disorders and Conditions

Reasons that qualify an individual to have an animal of this status include, but are not limited to: 

  • Learning disorders
  • Motor skill disorders
  • Gender identity
  • Depression
  • ADHD
  • Anxiety

The Benefits 

Now we know how to go around achieving the status of an emotional support animal, we can get excited about the many ways a supporting pet can improve our wellbeing. Studies conducted using qualitative research show the intensity of connection between owners and companion animals

Caring for a pet can ease loneliness, offering purpose and routine to those feeling down on their own. Routine is important. Anyone suffering from depression could see the importance of taking care of themselves, too, for the benefit of their pet. We call this reciprocal care. Animals provide unconditional love. They need care and love, too, offering emotional satisfaction and reward for the love you show them.

Supporting animals can also provide physical benefits. Studies show the increased oxytocin levels, the “feel good” hormone, from human-animal interactions induce numerous psychophysiological and psychosocial benefits. Physical benefits may include lowered blood pressure, respiration rates, and higher pain management in their owners. 

A Friend For Life 

An emotional support animal can come in various shapes and sizes, and finding a suitable fit may take trial and error. Yet, no matter what, if you treat your companion right, they’re sure to return unconditional love. Everyone can benefit from having an animal in their life. 

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Stevie Flavio
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