Creating The Study
Researchers working at Washington State University wanted to test to see if pets help lower stress levels once and for all. They divided 249 college students into four groups one week before their finals. Then, they took a saliva sample to measure the level of their stress hormone, cortisol.
Dividing The Groups
One group got to spend 10 minutes playing with animals while another missed out altogether. A third group got to watch others play with animals while the fourth and final group watched a slideshow of animals. Each group was given ten minutes with their task before their saliva was taken and tested once again.
Studying The Results
Amazingly, the results showed that the group who got to play with the animals for ten minutes had the biggest drop in cortisol levels of any of the groups. However, the other three did also see a mild decrease in their stress.
The researchers now hope to find out what it was that caused the stress levels to drop so much. In the meantime, many believe this could be the start of something great. After all, reduced stress in the rest of people’s lives can have significant health benefits overall.
Now, it looks as though we don’t need an excuse to play with our pets – or say “hello” to other people’s in the street. If you’re feeling like everything is a little too much or your stress levels are getting out of control, then it could be time to love your pet before you head to the office.