Pets can be more than just companions; they can also aid you in overcoming your social anxiety.
Treat a pet kindly, and it will love you for who you are. He/she will never judge you for your looks or shyness. He will depend on you to keep him alive. He will be there to comfort and play with you or make you laugh when you are having a bad day. He will shower you with love and reduce your loneliness if you have any.
Some pets require walks (the five listed here can all be taken for walks). For many people, a pet is like their security blanket or their guardian that they can take almost anywhere with them. The fact that their companion is with them in public can help reduce some anxious feelings. By having a pet with you, you have a good conversation starter right there, especially with like minded people. Don’t be surprised if someone stops to compliment your critter.
Pets are a great way to meet like minded, friendly people on forums or even clubs. Just remember, always research any pet before buying one. They all need certain housing, diet, and daily interaction time. A pet can be a big commitment.
Here are five great pet choices to help you with your anxiety:
Pet #5: Guinea Pig
The potential of a guinea pig as a pet is overlooked by many. If kept as an indoor companion and given attention daily, their true loving and funny nature will shine through. Guinea pigs communicate with their owners through various sounds, including purring, and many love to be cuddled and petted. A well socialised guinea pig is sure to brighten anyone’s day.
Pet #4: Cat
Cats are the most curious and psychic of pets. Despite their independent reputation, many of them love their owners unconditionally and will cuddle up to you and show their appreciation as they purr. They are happy to sleep next to their owners and will comfort them when they sense something is wrong.
There is one individual cat in particular who lives in a hospital and can sense when patients are about to die (before anyone else knows). It will cuddle up next to the patient and stay with them so that they are never alone.
Pet #3: Horse
Horses have been known to help treat people with all sorts of mental disorders – including social anxiety. Riding a horse involves learning or mastering a skill and has been known to enhance one’s confidence and self esteem in tackling new areas.
Horses are sensitive to verbal and non-verbal cues, and communication with a horse is vital in working with one. Horses also need to be cared for through grooming, feeding, and cleaning and rely upon their owners. They are also playful and loving creatures.
Pet #2: Dog
Dogs are commonly kept as pets, and for a good reason! They have been domestically bred for a very long time, and are well adapted to living in homes and interacting with people. Dogs can be playful, cuddly, incredibly affectionate, and can also guard their owners and keep them safe.
There are many different breeds (including mixed breeds) out there, and different types suit different people. Dogs are usually not low maintenance pets, so make sure you can make that commitment to keeping a companion dog.
Pet #1: Parrot
Cross a dog with a cat and a human child, and you have a parrot. While opinions may differ, for me, a parrot is the ultimate pet.
A parrot doesn’t give love unconditionally at first, you have to earn it. But once a parrot bonds to you… wow. It will make you feel like the most important person in the world. A parrot that is well socialized with humans will also be friendly towards strangers, but you will always be his number one person.
Parrots are loving and affectionate, incredibly playful and silly, many love to be cuddled, and yes, even a parrot can be taken into public with you as long as he wears a harness. The special talent that the parrot has is his ability to speak ‘in context’. They easily learn to associate human words with objects, actions, and sounds and can communicate to you on an incredible level.
Parrots need just as much, often more, attention as a pet dog does. They live for a very long time, and may even outlive you. If you have no experience keeping parrots, it is best to start off with a smaller species, such as a cockatiel or quaker.
Just about any pet can help that little bit more (or for some people, a lot more) in coping with social anxiety. Rats, ferrets, rabbits, reptiles, and fish have also been known to add happiness to a person’s life.