Messiah’s “De-Stress Fest”
On Friday, October 7, Minds Matter will host the annual Dog Therapy Day on Eisenhower Lawn from noon to 3 p.m. As the name suggests, Minds Matter expects to host several dogs, brought to campus by Messiah faculty, staff and students. The purpose is to help students relieve stress.
Nina Franklin, communication coordinator of Minds Matter, said the event occurs at least once a semester and is one the group’s favorite events to plan for the Messiah community.
“Dog Therapy Day is one of our favorite events to plan because Messiah faculty, staff, and students are always so eager to help bring joy (and dogs) to Messiah campus,” said Franklin. “Our event is helpful because it always puts a smile on students' faces and reminds them to take a moment to breathe and appreciate life.”
Associate Professor of Psychology Valerie Lemmon said that the fest will prove psychologically beneficial for students during the most hectic time of the semester.
“A significant decrease in blood pressure can be achieved between five and 24 minutes of positive dog interaction,” said Lemmon. “Since many students find final exams to be very stressful, it is helpful that even a few minutes petting an adorable dog could help them decrease their perception of the amount of stress related to their exams, and increase their ability to cope with the stress.”
Pets have been known to be good sources of health benefits and have a positive psychological effect on humans. Experts say that the emotional benefits of pet ownership can be equal to those of human friendship, and if pets are ‘psychologically close’ to their owner, they may provide well-being benefits for the owner just like any other person (Source: Huffington Post).
“Pets have been suggested to provide an unconditional source of affection, enhance self-esteem and emotional stability, reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation and help people socialize, provide pleasurable activity and assistance, are something to care for and a source of consistency and a sense of security,” said Lemmon, quoting a study on pets. “Pets have also been suggested to serve a supportive function that buffers people against stress and illness.”
- My Nguyen '17