Best Dog Breeds To Battle Depression

Dogs are, indeed, man’s best friend. In the age of mental health awareness and advocacy, studies have very clearly shown that dogs can assist significantly. More research has provided that owning a dog improves blood circulation, elevates the good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, and lowers cholesterol.

Dog owners will attest that the benefits of having a dog outweigh the cost in time and money. Dogs offer a unique degree of companionship and affection that arguably no other being, human or otherwise, can provide consistently.

In the battle for depression, along with other mental health issues, the dogs below have been tested and proven to provide the needed support for individuals by giving love, responsibility, activity, and routine. Read the following discussions on these dogs and see for yourself which dog best fits your personality.

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Although not that big, this dog provides that much needed cuddle time that everybody yearns for. Dubbed as the love sponge and the cuddle bug, this dog has been included in top royal circles for its beauty, elegance, and easygoing personality. These dogs are naturally happy and affectionate.

Challenges that owners of this kind of dog may face are grooming and susceptibility to heart-related ailments.

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Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are a staple in not only the dog industry but also the movie industry. They are your typical all-around, can-do dogs that never back out of any situation or person. They are also known to show an immense capacity to love and are very easily trainable as they are well-behaved. Aside from its loving nature, they are very active and playful.

Challenges that owners of this kind of dog may face are shedding of fur and physical exhaustion due to their need for daily activity.

Pug

Who does not love a dog that naturally looks grumpy day in and day out? Despite their somewhat fixed facial configuration, pugs are delightful, charming, and surprisingly well-mannered, on top of being one of the goofiest dogs in town.

Challenges that owners of this kind of dog may face are cardiovascular issues and lack of physical activity.

Corgi

Corgis lack in size, but they make up for in intuition and guidance. Known as the working dog, Corgis were born leaders of the pack, with a combination of intelligence, curiosity, and eagerness to learn. These dogs can read the feelings of their owner and could adapt accordingly.

Challenges that owners of this kind of dog may face are hip-related concerns and eye health issues.

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Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus, known as a meme online (and rightfully so), is cute, attentive, alert, and active. Shiba Inus are known to be aloof and independent, but are playful and possess a carefree nature. Among all dog classes, this kind of dog is arguably one of the most low-maintenance pets.

Challenges that owners of this kind of dog may face are difficulty in training and knee issues.

Do you have a pet dog that supports you in your battle against depression? Share with us your experience in the comments!…

Service Animals Vs. Emotional Support Animals

Patients with chronic illness often feel better when they had an animal companion by their side. With that positive result, getting an animal becomes part of a treatment that is called “animal-assisted therapy” or AAT. The said therapy has a lot of different variations. It can include everything from playing to a dog, feeding a bird, or taking care of a horse. Not all that, animal therapy gets often combined with other forms of any psychology treatments beneficial to the patient depending on his overall needs. Also, AAT promotes positive, measurable effects on both patients with and without clinical conditions as well. That explains why researchers are pretty much confident with its process.

Before we jump into the whole discussion of how animals can largely contribute to one’s overall health, let’s first discuss the difference between service animals and emotional support animals. A lot of people often get confused with the purpose of the two, so we will try to elaborate on their duties and responsibilities. These include their contribution to therapy, physical aid, emotional assistance, and more.

Service Animals  

A service animal is any trained dog. Other types of animals whether trained or untrained don’t represent SAs. The dog gets to do work or perform tasks that benefit an individual with a disability. These include various cases of mental, sensory, and physical problems. Another type of service animal is called a psychiatric service dog. Its specific role is to help its owner with a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, Schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder in their everyday routine. The dog helps in alleviating its owner’s struggle. It includes the task of reminding them of taking their medication or signaling by barking to stop them from doing harmful behavior.

Emotional Support Animals

Meanwhile, an emotional support animal is often part of a therapy treatment plan. Unlike a service animal, an emotional support animal usually does not perform or do tasks. It only has to provide companionship and relieve the loneliness of a person. An emotional support animal does not need any specialized training to aid an individual with a disability. A recommendation letter from a therapist or a medical doctor is all that’s required to classify an animal as an ESA. The animal also helps in reducing anxiety, depression, and phobias. It is best recommended to those people with suicidal thoughts or those who already attempted suicide in the past.

The Benefits

It is important to talk briefly about why having an animal is beneficial to one’s health as a whole. One of the primary advantages of petting an animal is its ability to lower blood pressure levels and heart rate. That’s because it allows you to perform the physical task yourself. You can play with it, and walk and run with it too. The animal can help you boost physical awareness. And not only it gets you up and moving every day, but taking care of an animal also has mental benefits as well. It helps in the releasing of oxytocin or the relaxation hormone which is responsible for making people feel emotionally attached to others. When oxytocin gets released, the cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine levels decrease. The cortisol is a steroid hormone that often links to anxiety and stress.

By having a pet animal, it also encourages others to practice interaction. That explains why the animal also helps in addressing social anxiety issues. It can help in addressing struggles in making friends and meeting new people. The effect on emotions doesn’t only apply to animal lovers, but also to those individuals who feel neutral with having animal companions too. That’s why the secret to its success lies in the bond between humans and animals in general. It has a genuine and non-judgmental relationship that allows people to have a safe place to process emotions.

It’s no wonder why we love having pet animals so much. It can improve your mood, lower blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, provide comfort in terms of emotional crisis, and help you get connected with another being. The positive effects don’t just happen because the animals are cute. Instead, having them beside you says a lot more about what it means to become human. So if you are considering adopting an animal, you genuinely should go for it.…

Why A Troubled Family Member Needs An Emotional Support Dog Letter

When a family member gets diagnosed with a specific mental disorder, you readily know that they need comforting. You don’t have the be an expert in that field to understand that the condition developed because something or someone caused them to feel down. Because of that, they need more of your attention and love now than ever.

Despite how much you want to focus on your troubled loved one entirely, though, it is unrealistic to let your world stop to be on their side 24/7. You need to work; you need to socialize too. That’s the only way for you to avoid becoming the next person in the family with mental health issues.

That’s the reason why psychiatrists and psychologists typically recommend getting a dog as an emotional support animal (ESA). It will allow your family member to have a constant companion and feel emotionally stable wherever they may be. However, to ensure that the pet can travel anywhere with your loved one, you ought to secure an emotional support dog letter from the doctor.

Considering it’s the first time you hear about this thing, we can tell you the benefits of having this prescription.

Go To Places That Do Not Usually Let Animals In

The first advantage of getting an emotional support dog letter is that you can break the “No Pets Allowed” policy that some establishments have. You will typically notice that signage in restaurants or clothing stores since they want to ascertain that their customers won’t get bothered by animal noises or furs won’t be flying everywhere. Despite that, since you have a note from a medical professional that states that you cannot part with your ESA for too long, the staff members have no choice but to allow you and your pet to come inside the establishment.

Ride A Plane With The Emotional Support Dog

Something that you may never see when you travel by plane on a regular basis is an animal that is free to stay beside their owner. It is common for airlines to ask people with pets to present various documents for the latter before letting the animals go to a different section of the aircraft. Similar to restaurants, they also have this rule to make sure that the pets will not create a disturbance, especially when the other passengers look for peace and quietude.

When your family member comes with a service dog letter at the airport, though, the airline personnel understand that they need to give special consideration to the matter. The bonus is that the pet can ride the plane without you having to pay anything. That’s a win-win situation, for sure.

Have The Animal Living With You

New condominium and apartment owners are quite particular about the rules that their tenants should follow these days. Some prevent them from having more than a couple of visitors at once; others require the renters to pay extra if they want to bring specific appliances in their new place. Unfortunately, many do not accept folks who wish to live in the building with their pets as they will apparently “disturb the peace” there.

The thing is, landlords are not exempted from individuals who need to comply with what’s written in an emotional support dog letter. They cannot ask your troubled family member to pay pet deposit; they cannot turn them away for having an animal companion. As per federal laws, after all, persons who depend on ESAs for emotional stability are not supposed to get charged for living with them.

Keep The Mental Disorder A Secret

There is undoubtedly no troubled individual who wants to be questioned all the time for walking around with a service dog. Not only will it be stressful to explain the reason to everyone who asks, but it also violates their privilege to keep the mental disorder a secret. That may aggravate the symptoms of their condition, frankly speaking.

What can help your family member to avoid being in this situation is carrying an emotional support dog letter wherever they go. Once they present it to the person wanting to know why they always travel with the animal, they can no longer force your loved one to talk about the illness. Doing the opposite of that will give your relative a reason to file a case against that individual later.

To Wrap It Up

It is not rare to hear news stories about pets saving their master from physical danger. Well, the emotional support dogs are no different from those, in the sense that they can keep your loved one company and prevent them from making rash decisions out of loneliness. You can count on them to help your troubled family member to feel emotional stability once again.

In case you know someone who can use a service dog in their life too, you should not hesitate to inquire to their doctor if that can be a part of their treatment.…

5 Tips To Overcome Money-Related Stress Through Financial Counseling

In one study, it was revealed that money is the leading cause of stress among Americans, more so in the millennials. It is a bigger problem than personal relationships or even career. Worse, the numbers are increasing year-on-year.

Financial counseling has proven itself useful in helping people get to that point of gaining control over their finances and thereby, achieve financial stability. In a recent study by the Money Management International, 86% of employees who receive financial counseling experience reduced stress levels about money. In yet another study, financial counseling has helped people reduce their debt levels, save up for their retirement, and secure financial investments.

However, financial counseling can only do so much as the fulfillment of its intended benefits would ultimately lie on the person undergoing counseling. Here are a few tips to make financial counseling work for you:

  1. Open Up Regarding Your Real Emotions

The starting point for every financial counseling journey is for the therapist to know and understand the emotions underlying your money-related decisions. There is a reason behind every financial goal. There is emotion behind every spending behavior. It may be traced back to your financial experience way back childhood. It is best to open up your true feelings when it comes to money for the therapist to provide better and more fitting financial advice.

 

  1. Be Transparent With Your Priorities

After speaking up about your true emotions, we take it to the next level by being explicit about your priorities. Moving forward, what are the things that you want to pursue in your life? Is there a specific timeline within which you want to achieve your financial goals? Maybe you aim for a car in a year or two, then a house after five years? Or perhaps you wish to stock up your money first in passive income investments?

 

  1. Get Ready To Change The Way You Handle Money

Starting from your priorities, the counselor would then give insights as to the need and feasibility of your financial goals. This period is when your therapist could guide you with the specific steps that can help you become financially stable.

At this point, the most crucial part is your willingness to accept a new perspective. Your counselor would be very enthusiastic to help you focus on the things that could help and weed out the things that could only make your financial situation worse.

 

  1. Develop Financial Discipline Through Application

Once you have already been coached about the general part, which is goal-setting and priorities, followed by the specific stage, which is composed of the particular tasks you need to accomplish, it is time for the most critical yet most challenging aspect – application. It’s one thing to have learned, and a whole different thing to have done it.

Maybe you have to give up a few of your guilty pleasures or pursue the things you didn’t care for in the past. Financial stability and success indeed demand fiscal discipline.

  1. Be Humble Enough To Seek Guidance

Since no one among us is perfect, no matter how hard we try to keep within the bounds of our financial plan, we would frequently see ourselves falling short of what it takes to be financially successful.

Be encouraged by the fact that your failures never really matter, unless you decide to stop trying. It pays to exercise humility and go back to your counselor to ask for help on how to get back on track. They are more than willing to walk with you on your way towards financial freedom.

The key to the success of every financial counseling journey is the recognition that it is a two-way tango. The beautiful part, though, is that regardless of our current situations, financial stability is within reach, and some people would give their time to help us achieve that if we trust them and ourselves enough.

 

 

 

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The Wonders Of The Mental Health First Aid Programs

 

“It’s hard growing up with social media. A lot of kids have suicidal thoughts, more than we realize.” Stephanie Ratner, a therapist of the Mental Health Center of Denver Montbello school, stated. This isn’t far from the truth as people who claimed their lives shared depression quotes and sad images in their social media pages before their final hours. Most people thought that these were attention-seeking, but truthfully, they were cries of help left unheard and misunderstood until it was too late. Now, this recent wave of Mental Health First Aid Programs in America aims to change that.…

Hospice Care And Animal Therapy: Making The Journey Easy

It has been known since a long time ago that animals make great companions during happy and sad moments. Research proves that having a pet decreases stress and anxiety levels and significantly reduces blood pressure and heart rate. It has also shown to increase the amount of positive hormones in the body. Because of these benefits and many more, medical professionals are contemplating on utilizing animal therapy in hospice care.

Hospice care patients can tremendously benefit from spending time with dogs, cats and other animals that they can touch and cuddle with. Some of these patients attest that they are more relaxed and tend to forget about their mental and emotional problems. Some of them do turn to online psychologists, as they are more comfortable expressing their true feelings with someone they don’t see face to face and they can consult these psychologists at their own time, according to BetterHelp, a leader in providing e-counseling services.

 

The warmth of touch and cuddle makes so much difference to hospice care patients when they reach out to their pet. It actually validates that they are breathing and alive and loved. Unlike humans, pets don’t make them feel self-pity, as they do not know that hospice patients are ill and need to be given extra-care and attention. Also, their memories of Star or Buggy or Sophie will remain until their last days, keeping them smiling as they sit or lay on their beds.

Hospice patients who can walk can take their visiting pet out for a stroll to get exercise. If they’re living in their own homes, they can go with their pets and visit their close neighbors. If they’re in a facility, they would also feel more secure and comfortable walking around with their pets. Visiting animals have become popular in healthcare facilities around the United States, helping Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, pacifying them in their agitated moments and loving them in their lowest.

Hospice patients who have left their pets in their homes are sad and depressed. That is why they are overwhelmed with happiness when therapy dogs visit them in their facilities.

Touching Stories

The Story of Buster

JJ is an experienced therapy dog that has comforted several patients, including those who suffered from the Seattle Pacific University shooting. He was able to care for a certain hospice patient, Mrs. Conway, who would light up every time Buster would come. She would hold her hand and touch her fur. Her vitals would rise a little when she sees the dog, and they say that Buster was the reason why Mrs. Conway lived a few more weeks. Buster was there beside her as she rested. They had quite a lot of memories together.

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The Story of Boggles the Chihuahua

Boggles puts a smile on the faces of the Alzheimer’s and dementia patients in Brookdale. They have been requesting for her since she once came to visit as a pet therapy dog. Similarly, Boggles is all the more excited to be hugged and cuddled by her regular buddies at the facility. She is often brought there by her handler particularly when there are patients who are struggling to keep their last breath, and Boggles comforts them as they rest peacefully.

“It’s such an experience,” says Brookdale program coordinator. “There’s so much joy and laughter. Some patients can’t fully express how they feel, but you can see it in their eyes.”…

Fitbits and Smartwatches: Advantages and Disadvantages

The holidays are just around the corner and people are getting ready with their Christmas lists. Online therapy is what you needed; online retail therapy that is. Retail online stores are putting up gift ideas, top picks and suggestions to give your loved ones and friends this holiday season. Usually, these lists are filled with wearable technology, drones, laptops, mobile phones and technology accessories. Some might even consider giving fitbits and smartwatches.  Before spending tons of money on a purchase that may be useless in the long run, let us consider what are the advantages and disadvantages of having one.

Dealing with Anorexia

Anorexia Nervosa is a serious and life-threatening physiological disorder which affects mostly women.  The cause is possibly due to emotional problems, mental issues or can be the combination of both. People with this disease are known to refuse consumption of any food for long periods of time.…

Dealing With Chronic Diseases And Conditions

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The moment you are diagnosed with a chronic ailment, you know for a fact that you will embark on a major change. Starting from simple daily choices to considering its ill effects in other aspects of your life and functioning. For example, diseases like diabetes mellitus, hypertension, chronic kidney diseases requiring dialysis, stroke or conditions like amputation require lifestyle modifications and monitoring. In order to control the signs and symptoms, you must adhere to the treatment regimen which includes but are not limited to frequent check-up to your physician or specialist, diet and activity modification and adherence to a medication regimen.…