Yesterday’s Wisdom: Turn to family and friends for support.
Today’s Smart Strategy: Cuddle up with your pet.
Hanging out with loved ones has long been touted as an instant mood-booster, but according to new scientific evidence, when it comes to managing stress, the calming effects of spending time with a furry friend trump those obtained by hanging out with friends and family. “Having your pet, whether a cat or a dog, with you during a stressful event turns out to be more soothing than a best friend or a spouse,” says James J. Blascovich, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Dr. Blascovich and colleagues asked volunteers to perform difficult math problems while in the company of their spouse, a friend, or their pet. Using heart rate and blood pressure as measures of stress, the researchers found that people strained the least and performed the best when in the company of their cat or dog. While spending time with a friend or spouse can be a great way to relax, sidle up to your pet when the pressure’s on.