Did you know three-fourths of the human population undergoes some form of stress in a two-week period? With the busy times we live in, this isn’t surprising. However, too much stress is not good for the body or the mind. And it’s especially not good when it becomes so overpowering that it keeps us from living a normal, everyday life.

In this post, we will discuss this condition, the causes, the symptoms and how an emotional support animal can help with stress.

If you experience stress and believe an Emotional Support Animal would help you, you may start the process of getting an Emotional Support Animal by completing the ESA Questionnaire below. You will work directly with a Licensed Mental Health Professional to see if you qualify for an ESA Letter

What is Stress?

Interesting enough, stress can be a good thing, in small doses. It’s our body’s way of “keeping us on our toes,” in emergency situations.

The “stress response” (aka fight-or-flight) is an automatic reaction to danger, whether perceived or real, which kicks the body into high gear to respond to it. When working properly, stress will help keep you focused, alert and ready for the situation.

Your body and mind will also go through physical changes to help you through this fight-or-flight response. When threatened the nervous system releases stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) which prepare the body for an appropriate response. Physically, the heart races, our muscles tighten, our breath quickens, blood pressure rises and we become overall more focused. This is why some individuals feel stronger and quicker in the stress response.

However, beyond a certain point, stress stops becoming “helpful” and begins to cause damage to our physical bodies and our minds, moods, productivity and even our relationships. This is called “chronic stress.”

Symptoms of Chronic Stress

stressed out

If you tend to get stressed out more easily, your body may be “stuck” in this stress-loop. It can cause many health issues such as heart disease, digestive upsets, a suppressed immune system, and even increase the effects of aging. It can also affect your ability to concentrate, remember things, increase the likelihood of sleeplessness, skin issues, and chronic pain.

Even though we may be experiencing chronic stress, we may not be aware of it – it’s something we tend to get used to. There are four main categories of symptoms that can affect our bodies. They include; mental/cognitive, physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms.

Mental/Cognitive Symptoms

  • Constant worry
  • Poor concentration
  • Persistent negative thoughts
  • Memory issues
  • Poor judgment skills
  • Racing/anxious thoughts

Physical Symptoms

  • Frequent flu/colds
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Rapid heart rate/chest pain
  • Aches/pains
  • Nausea/dizziness

Emotional Symptoms

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Depression or generally being unhappy
  • Mood swings
  • Loneliness
  • Anxiety/agitation
  • Other mental health issues

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Sleeping issues (too much or too little)
  • Dietary (eating too much or too little)
  • Using other means to relax (alcohol, drugs, nicotine)
  • Withdrawing from relationships
  • Nervous habits like nail biting
  • Procrastinating or neglecting one’s responsibilities

How an Emotional Support Animal Can Help With Stress

esa dog in house

An emotional support animal may be able to help alleviate some of the symptoms of stress. In fact, just petting a furry animal has been shown to lower blood pressure, heart rates and even releases those feel-good hormones.

Having an emotional support animal, especially if it is a canine, will get the person outside and encourage them to exercise more (ie hiking with the dog, walks in the park etc.). Exercise has also been shown to release endorphins that improve our moods and general well being. It will also help increase our ability to lose weight, and increase our abilities to fight off infections. 

Lastly, any ESA regardless of species will make a good listener and will not judge or abandon the person for their chronic stress. Emotional Support Animals are recognized by the Federal government as an important part of mental health treatment. As a result, official Emotional Support Animals have specific travel and housing rights

Emotional Support Animals & Stress

If you feel you may be suffering from chronic stress, then be sure to bring it to the attention of a doctor or mental health professional. He or she will ask you a list of questions and may also do some other tests to establish if you have other underlying health issues. You may also be recommended to enlist a change in your lifestyle and diet to help reduce the stress in your life.

If you think the addition of an ESA may work to your benefit, be sure to adopt an animal that has a calm temperament and is right for you. The last thing you want to do is to add more stress to your life with an unsuitable “pet.”

You don’t have to suffer from chronic stress. Work with your doctor, make small (or large) changes to your lifestyle and love your emotional support animal. After all, this is your life, live it well. 


See if you qualify for an emotional support animal below.


Get the love and support you deserve.