Pets Relieve Stress for Students

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Yuke Yu posa para una foto con su caballo, Spirit. Yuke Yu poses for a picture with her horse, Spirit. Photo given by Yuke Yu , Brontie Wright

Ireland Straub, Yuke Yu

Most high school students are familiar with the negative effects of stress in their daily lives. Medicalnewstoday.com defines stress as the feeling we have when we are under pressure. Stress especially takes a toll on students during the month of May when they face the challenges of difficult AP (Advanced Placement) and final exams.   With many classes and little time, students often feel the negativity from all of the added pressure.

“School is most stressful when there is so much work to be done in a little amount of time,” Junior Angela Dong said.

Not only are students finishing the content for each course, but there are final projects, tests,  final exams and AP exams that put a lot of pressure on students.

“ All the tests such as AP tests are stressful,” according to sophomore Lydia Mun.

There are many strategies that can be  used to manage stress, such as hanging out with friends, doing community service, and participating in enjoyable activities.  In addition, many students depend on their pets as a coping mechanism.

There are many ways animals can help reduce stress. According to science.howstuffworks.com, hanging out with our pets helps lower blood pressure and stress hormones associated with depression and anxiety.  Pets can also help students take their mind off the things that are overwhelming them and help them relax,  providing comfort when people are  feeling down or stressed out because the bond between the pet and the owner is special. That bond gives a  feeling of being  safe and offers emotional support.

“Talking to my cat and petting my cat helps me when I am feeling uneasy, ”  sophomore Kaylie Turner said.

Just being able to talk to and spend time with pets takes some of the weight off of one’s shoulders by offering a sense of companionship and unconditional love.   According to sophomore Raewyn Updike, her dog distracts her from all the stress  with his cuteness. Cuddling and playing with him makes her  happy.

While many people think of pets as just cats and dogs, there is actually a wide variety of other pets that can equally help with stress.  Sophomore Kim Diaz says she has a guinea pig that  helps her to release stress when she plays with him and watches him run around the house inside the hamster ball.

While some students benefit from talking to and playing with their pets, others simply get satisfaction from nurturing their animal companions.  Juniors  Brontie Wright and Yuke Yu escape the stress by caring for them.

According to Wright who has  an African Hedgehog,  the routine of feeding and caring for him  helps her release stress because she feels like she is  accomplishing something worthwhile.  Yu agrees that riding horses and taking care of the farm animals not only helps her release stress, but also takes her mind off of the things  that are worrying her.

Having a pet is beneficial in helping to relieve stress and preventing depression, especially during the most difficult part of the school year. Whether it’s a dog, cat, hedgehog, or horse,  pets offer a unique friendship and love that can be therapeutic for their caregivers.