Happy Monday everyone! I hope you weathered finals week well and that you are used outlets and skills to keep end of semester stress at bay. I wanted to add another to the mix: ANIMALS. This is one of my passions and I do realize this is not for everyone. Research around improved stress management and engagement with animals is very strong. We know they help mitigate the physiological effects of stress and anxiety and help improved mood. Cortisol drops. Heart rate and blood pressure drop. Dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin (the love hormone) get released and make us feel good. Over my 13 years of being involved in animal-assisted therapy and animal-assisted crisis response, I have seen beautiful, powerful moments that my dogs have brought. This is something no human can do. They do not make demands of us and offer unconditional acceptance. They also do require us to say anything at all (but are willing to listen to whatever we do say.) Dogs and other animals are also wonderful examples of mindfulness- something we need to cultivate. They are in the moment, unconcerned about the past and not worried about the future. We need to take a lesson. Below there several great links to learn about the benefits of animals in our lives and to just get a cute, furry fix. I encourage you to get some love and cuddles from a four-legged stress reliever this week! (Even if you need to borrow one!) I also just want to remind you we have the Animal-Assisted Student Initiative which can help you learn about this and get you involved in volunteering (with or without a dog.) Let me know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful week!

Take care, Dr. Dunbar

  • http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/benefits-of-pets/
  • http://center4research.org/healthy-living-prevention/pets-and-health-the-impact-of-companion-animals/
  • https://habri.org/research/ https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-truth-about-animal-assisted-therapy/
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dmMETQBozk
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFnv8az8cVE