Therapy Dogs Help Relieve Stress

For college students, spring brings both warmer weather and something less pleasant - finals week. Colleges and universities know that this can be a stressful time of year for their students, and more are offering ways to help them deal with stress. A recent article highlights the finals stress relief program at the University of California, Riverside, which offers some useful resources for its students: massages, healthy snacks, and yoga, to name a few. One of the most popular? Campus visits by therapy dogs.

Socializing with animals has been shown to have a variety of health benefits, many related to a decrease in anxiety levels, feelings of stress, and even lowered blood pressure. Many hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices offer animal-assisted therapy programs, but trained therapy animals have a place outside the healthcare setting as well. More schools and even public libraries are bringing in therapy dogs to help children focus, lessen their anxiety, and provide them a safe and nonjudgmental friend who is happy to listen to them practice reading or just give them some loving attention.

There are many things we can do to help relieve stress, but bonding with an animal is perhaps one of the most rewarding.

Photo: Pixnio

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