Posts tagged with "therapeutic"

How a Pet Helps You Feel Better When You Are Sad

If you already own a pet, then you’re likely to be well aware of the uplifting effect that a pet can have on your mood when you’re feeling sad.

But have you ever wondered why this is?

Here are a few scientifically-backed reasons as to how a pet is genuinely able to make a person feel better when they are feeling down…

FEEL-GOOD BRAIN CHEMICALS

Your brain produces a number of different natural chemicals that each have their own effect on your mood.

One of these chemicals is called oxytocin. When the brain releases this, you immediately feel happier and more loved.

Not only that, but the oxytocin then sends signals to the other neurotransmitters in the brain, encouraging it to release other feel-good hormones, such as:

• Serotonin

• Dopamine

• Adrenaline

How are these feel-good brain chemicals linked to pets?

Well, research shows that when you stroke a pet, this triggers your brain to produce and release an increased amount of oxytocin. This, in turn, will quickly have an uplifting effect on your mood.

In fact, you don’t even necessarily need to stroke a pet to experience these benefits…

Simply looking into your pet’s eyes can have similar effects!

COMFORT AND EMPATHY

Not only can many animals sense your emotions, but they can also tell whether you are feeling happy or sad. This is a concept officially known as emotional contagion, and it is something that is being increasingly studied.

While research may still be ongoing, what we do know is that pets, whether they can sense your sadness or not, offer so much comfort and empathy.

Your pet will be there to support you whenever you are feeling down, and your pet is also guaranteed to be one of the best listeners you will ever find! Just talking to your pet about whatever it is that is bothering you can actually increase your problem-solving abilities, meaning that you may even find a logical and productive way to overcome your sadness.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

While a fish or a hamster may not provide this benefit, other pets, such as dogs and cats, do tend to encourage their owners to spend more time outdoors.

This is especially the case with dogs, and dog owners will likely find themselves outdoors so much more than they would have been, all because of their dog.

Did you know that spending more time outdoors can have a direct effect on how happy you’re feeling?

Even if you just spend half an hour a day at your local park with your dog, you will experience:

• Less stress

• More empathy

• Increased concentration and creativity

• An increase in physical fitness

• An improvement in overall health

As you can imagine, when experiencing all of those different benefits, your sadness will soon disappear!

Pets add so much to our lives, and the fact that an animal can almost immediately make a person feel happier is a huge added bonus for pet owners. Whether you own a dog, a cat, a fish, or anything else, try turning to your pet the next time you are feeling sad for an instant mood lift. Learn more here about how your pets can help boost your mood!

2017 UnitedHealthcare California Challenge

Bay Area Wounded Veterans to Train at San Francisco City Hall in Advance of 450-Mile Therapeutic Bike Ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles

 
Local supporters, including veterans and community leaders, will cheer on the cyclists as they train for the 2017 UnitedHealthcare California Challenge benefiting veterans and first responders

 
WHAT: Bay Area wounded military veterans who are participating in the UnitedHealthcare California Challenge, a 450-mile therapeutic cycling event beginning in San Francisco on Sunday, Oct. 15, will take part in a final training ride around City Hall Thursday, Oct. 12.

 
The local veterans participating in the training ride are among more than 100 cyclists riding in the seven-day UnitedHealthcare California Challenge, which benefits veterans and first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other injuries.

 
Some will ride bicycles customized for injured veteran riders. Local supporters, including other veterans and community leaders, will be on hand to cheer as they train.

 
The California Challenge is a collaboration between UnitedHealthcare and Project Hero, a national nonprofit organization that helps veterans and first responders affected by injury, PTSD and TBI achieve rehabilitation, recovery and resilience in their daily lives. 

 
The first stage of the UnitedHealthcare California Challenge, from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, begins 9 a.m. Sunday at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center. The public is invited to attend the kick-off event to support the veterans as they embark on their journey.

 
WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 12
9:45 a.m. – Photos and interviews
10 a.m. – Training ride begins around City Hall
           
WHO: Local veterans who will be participating in the ride, supporters and community leaders including:

· Local veteran riders and their families

· UnitedHealthcare executives and employees

· Veterans Administration executives and staff

 
WHERE: San Francisco City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco

 
PHOTOS: Media are invited to photograph event participants and military veterans, including bicycles customized for injured veteran riders.

 

 
About Project Hero
Founded in 2008, Project Hero is a groundbreaking national non-profit organization dedicated to helping Veterans and First Responders affected by PTSD, TBI and injury achieve rehabilitation, recovery and resilience in their daily lives and increasing awareness of the national mental health crisis posed by PTSD and TBI. Project Hero programs work by producing positive outcomes at lower costs and reducing drug-based therapies. Project Hero builds and provides adaptive bikes to physically-challenged and injured Veterans and First Responders and has helped tens of thousands of our Healing Heroes at no cost to participants through cycling events, community-based programs in more than 50 cities throughout the US and by supporting research. For information, visit www.projecthero.org.

 
About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 1 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.