Nowadays, many students own Emotional Support Animals (ESAs), with some staying with their ESAs at college. The fact that many colleges allow their students to have Emotional Support Animals in their dorms creates the perfect environment for this situation. Contrary to common misconception, having students with ESAs in their dorms isn’t something to fear. In fact, these animals can help students commit to their goals and deal with anxiety, among other mental hurdles.
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If you disagree with this, then you might not be informed about the full context of how Emotional Support Animals can help people overcome their mental health challenges. They help people deal with stressful conditions. Getting through college can be quite stressful, and there are several reasons behind this comment. Students often have to struggle with juggling more than one role.
So, if you are a student who often struggles with mental health issues, we will offer you nine reasons that will convince you to look for an ESA for yourself.
Take time reading through this post to learn the different perks ESAs have in store for you:
1. You Can Handle Homesickness Better
Sure, being homesick doesn’t count as a mental condition. However, it could easily result in the manifestation of mental health issues that can complicate learning in college.
In college, not all students feel homesick, but those close to their families are bound to be affected the most. With some kids moving into other states for college, seeing their loved ones from time to time can become quite difficult. Even without adding the cost of transport, attending college in itself is quite expensive. If you include the cost of weekend visits, traveling back home often can be costly.
So, you can’t see your loved ones every other weekend?
It is typical for students who watch others head home for vacation- without themselves being able to do the same- to feel frustrated. The resulting homesickness could lead to you feeling depressed and uncomfortable.
Feeling homesick is an actual problem among college kids
Homesickness is quite treatable. However, anyone experiencing it has to associate themselves with something familiar as they go through their life on campus. If an individual is already battling mental health issues, feeling homesick could escalate their conditions. This could result in them spiraling out of control if left untreated.
ESAs Ensure That You Won’t Miss Home That Much
You will need something to distract you from the feeling of missing your family. Emotional Support Animals happen to be a perfect distraction. As mentioned earlier, most college administrations allow their students to live on campus with service or support animals. This permission means that you can bring your Emotional Support Animal with you to college.
First of all, your Emotional Support Animal will make you feel a sense of familiarity when moving into any new place. Their support makes it easy to keep homesickness at bay. In turn, focusing on your studies will be much easier than if you didn’t have your ESA with you. If you are battling any mental stress, you can also rely on support from your ESA.
In fact, many mental healthcare providers consider ESAs to be among the best options for neutralizing the symptoms of mental health conditions.
Your support pals will always come to your rescue whenever you are running low on mental strength, or simply feeling sad. It might jump on you or play with you before giving you a heartwarming hug.
Receiving some love from your fluffy buddy can be one of the most adorable things in the world. These little and subtle gestures from your ESA might feel trivial, but they can go a long way into making you feel calm – they can keep you feeling happy and lively.
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2. They can Make You Commit to a Healthy Diet
Poor nutrition can deteriorate your physical and mental health. For people with pre-existing mental health conditions, poor dieting practices can worsen their condition.
This is why most parents tend to be strict on their kids when it comes to sticking to specific diets.
How Does A Poor Diet Affect Your Mental Health?
You may be wondering, where is the connection between going to college and poor nutrition?
Nutrition has a huge impact on individual wellbeing. Since the start of the 20th Century, the consumption of low-fiber and high-junk diets has increased.
Coupled with the modern-day college’s sedentary life student’s sedentary life, the chances of diseases creeping up on them are increased. This is why conditions like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and hypertension are common in the 21st Century. Sticking to a healthy diet is a sure way to keep these diseases at bay.
In turn, these diets led to a variety of health conditions. According to an article published on Food & Mood Center, Diet has a pivotal role in the development of mental health conditions from a young age.
In fact, it can be easy for the fetus of a pregnant woman who consumes an unhealthy diet to develop mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.
Moving on to how poor nutrition affects adults
As a well-known fact, moving to college exposes people to practical life. This might hit most people pretty hard, especially if they are struggling with pre-existing mental conditions.
Many people imagine that college life will be as perfect as it is portrayed in the movies; partying non-stop and having no adult to boss you around. Did you imagine that college life will be like that? If you did, you might already know that this idea is far from reality.
College life can be really tough. First of all, you need to ensure that you maintain your GPA above 3.0. You could also need to work to sustain yourself inside the campus – and balancing between work and studies can be hectic. Achieving these goals requires you to be well-nourished.
Sadly, it might be tough to keep yourself nourished. Due to constant deadlines, consistently cooking something for yourself can be a struggle. In turn, you could end up taking a lot of junk foods, with some students choosing to consume coffee alone during some stressful days.
This routine isn’t good for your health. In fact, sticking to this kind of diet could worsen your mental condition. Without the right diet, your body won’t receive the right nutrients.
How ESAs Can Help Fix Your Habit
You might be wondering, how will my Emotional Support Animal impact my dieting habits? Simple; your ESA will force you to stick to an appropriate diet.
Once you have an Emotional Support Animal around you, you will have to organize your schedule with regard to the ESA’s. Since every ESA has needs, you will need to fulfill them.
In fact, animals are known to stick to fixed routines. They play, eat, and sleep while following a fixed schedule.
As a result, you will be forced to get things done at the right time. In turn, you will gradually start eating at the right time. Since you have to feed your ESA at specific times, you will be forced to make time for your own meals. Eventually, as you continue to offer your ESA a healthy diet, you will be forced to eat right.
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3. Keeping Social Anxiety at Bay
Social anxiety can be crippling. We aren’t talking about the kind of anxiety you experience during exams or when yearning for your lottery number to win the jackpot.
We are referring to the kind of anxiety that makes you feel uncomfortable interacting with people on your campus. When you reach college, social anxiety could make you keep your head so low so that no one can notice you.
Recent research indicates that a good portion of college students struggle with social anxiety.
Social Anxiety Can Snowball Into More Issues:
If you are struggling with social anxiety, your confidence will take a hit. Whenever people ask you to attend events or make presentations, you might turn down these offers by making excuses.
The truth is, letting social anxiety take the driver’s seat in your life is not good. It can make it tough for you to jump on great opportunities that could be career-changing.
Well, everyone goes through some form of social anxiety in their life. However, some people struggle with social anxiety that is so bad that it complicates their life.
It is typical for people with social anxiety to struggle with disturbing thoughts. For instance, you could find yourself thinking about specific interactions you had with a certain person. You could wonder whether you were too loud or too awkward for them. This type of self-doubt can easily eat into your confidence.
In turn, as you struggle with these thoughts, they can affect your cognitive ability, sleeping habits, and self-esteem. You ought to keep your anxiety in check to avoid experiencing any adverse effects on your mental health.
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ESA Will Leave You Feeling Secure:
For you to deal with social anxiety the right way, you need some form of support mechanism. An Emotional Support Animal can provide just that.
Having an Emotional Support Animal around you can provide you the kind of therapy you need- the key is in the name ‘emotional support’. ESAs are known to offer care and a sense of security whenever they are close to their owner.
Having your fluffy buddy around you most of the time can give you a confidence boost. Emotional Support Animals are a great listener who makes them great companions for people struggling with social anxiety disorders. You can channel your frustrations and insecurities towards them without them judging you.
Besides, when feeling that someone has your back, it can be easier to overcome the fear of being the center of attention. In turn, moving on with your life will be easier.
4. Getting Over Your Stressful Routine Will Be Easier
Have you ever wished that a day had more than 24 hours? College life can be hectic. Almost every student has wished they had more time to help manage their duties better.
If you are struggling with a mental condition, managing your time might be tougher. Your mental health condition will rob you of the ability to do so. In turn, this can result in a couple of unfavorable consequences, including a lack of appetite, having an unhealthy sleeping pattern, chronic stress, etc.
Deadlines come with a lot of pressure, which can result in stress. In some cases, college students have to meet deadlines every single day. While it might be easier for normal students to handle this pressure, people with pre-existing mental health conditions might struggle to do the same.
Getting stressed constantly is a bad thing. Constant stress can lead to several health problems, including diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases.
Some students have to deal with chronic stress due to the pressure from the deadlines because they procrastinate constantly. Procrastination can give you an adrenaline rush, resulting in you being addicted to the feeling it brings.
In turn, you might find yourself pushing tasks to the eleventh hour. While you might always manage to get things done, this habit can have a long-lasting effect on your mental health.
If you are already struggling with a mental health condition, being stressed can tamper with your regular brain functions, which will alter the secretion of many hormones, including:
- Thyroid hormones
- Growth hormones
The list of the number of brain functions that will be affected is long. The reason for this effect is because the brain is your body’s primary processing unit, and one of its main functions is to maintain balance.
By doing this, your brain changes how it prioritizes its functions, which can lead to either the excessive or inadequate secretion of hormones.
Whenever you are stressed, you will experience a fluctuation of endorphin secretion. These hormones play a major role in the body, like mood control, regulating the secretion of stress hormones, and keeping you happy.
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All these effects can end up affecting our mental health. If you have a pre-existing mental health disorder, it can be worsened.
In fact, some people end up channeling their frustrations towards drug abuse since it is easier. However, they forget that this behavior will make their mental health worse. You shouldn’t panic, though. You still have time to manage your routine, and having a reliable companion by your side that could help you relax.
How ESAs Can Rescue You from Stressful Routines
Emotional Support Animals have the potential to change your life for the better. Having an ESA around can help calm your mind down, which is vital when dealing with a hectic routine.
Your Emotional Support Animal can support you through hard times. Every time you are going through tough times, your ESA will immediately sense your distress.
FYI! Animals have the ability to sense your emotions through your aura.
When stressed, your ESA will most likely play around with you or jump at you with hugs and smooches. In turn, this leads to your brain, releasing endorphins. Once you get back to being relaxed, handling tough schedules will become easier.
A relaxed mind finds carrying on with specific tasks quite easy, while a tense mind will be easily distracted, making it tough for you to handle specific tasks.
If you have an ESA by your side, you will always have something you are yearning for whenever you return to your room.
So, don’t worry about calming your mind whenever you are struggling with a stressful schedule – having an Emotional Support Animal by your side will help you get on with your life with ease.
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5. Helping You Keep Away From Rebellious Behavior
Having rebellious behavior is normal for college students. For most, not following the rules can seem cool. You could find yourself wondering, “Why should I listen to anyone?”
Have you taken time thinking about the perks of following the rules? While you might not have given this issue much thought, understanding it is essential.
Before we dive deep into this issue, we should clarify that we want to address behaviors that could hurt you or other people. Remember, anything that can cause emotional or physical harm is dangerous.
There are a number of reasons that could lead to you being rebellious. These include:
Having Strict Parents
Most college students develop rebellion due to the strictness of their parents. You might have had parents who imposed curfews on you and are strict in following through with their rules.
For instance, your curfew could have been set at 6 pm sharp. If it is during the weekend, you might want to hang out with friends, but you have to head back home regardless of your current situation. This situation can take the fun out of your life, and it could lead to you disliking people who give you orders.
Having a Troubled Childhood
People often have to deal with issues that affected them during their childhood for the rest of their lives. You could have gone through some troubles within your family or the environment you grew up in. These troubles could result in you forming self-destructive behaviors.
For instance, someone who you looked up to could have physically abused you consistently. In turn, this abusive behavior could lead to you thinking that lashing out at people is a way to express love. You could end up thinking, “this is how I should be treating others.”
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Having Parents That Are Too Lenient
Rebellion can arise from having lenient parents too. It takes the shape of a mindset. You could end up feeling as if you are your own boss. In turn, you might carry this mindset outside your home.
Such people often develop a superiority complex and end up being quite bossy. Whenever someone tries to correct them, the chances are that they will retaliate in response.
Living With Separated/Divorced Parents
Whenever parents get divorced, the picture-perfect idea a child might have had of the family structure gets shattered. This situation could end up making you feel torn between your parents, which is a struggle that is difficult to deal with.
Some people try to shut out the pain they feel by engaging in reckless behaviors. In turn, acting out can come with a rush of adrenaline, which can be quite exhilarating. The downside is that this could involve self-destructive behavior.
A good number of college students engage in rebellious behavior because they start to live alone. This status gives them the independence to do whatever they want and forget about the consequences.
You may be thinking, “How does this all relate to having Emotional Support Animals?
Whenever you go through the situations mentioned above, the chances are that you will develop anxiety disorders, making it hard to manage your mental health.
You could start experiencing mood swings, which could be combined with loneliness during other times. If you feel like this in any way, you will need a companion to help you deal with your mental issues.
This is where Emotional Support Animals come in – they are some of the best companions a college student could ever have. Besides keeping loneliness at bay, they will help you calm down. Even better, you can always rely on them since they will never judge or abandon you.
Above all, they can help you develop a sense of responsibility, which will counter any rebellious behavior you might have. The fact that you will need to be responsible for your Emotional Support Animal can help you take responsibility for your behavior, resulting in you feeling peaceful.
6. You Will Keep Your Physical Health in Check
Your mind and body will function optimally if you are in great physical health.
Your physical health is closely related to your mental health.
Having good physical health is equal to living a long and healthy life. Sadly, not everyone can maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially if they are struggling with mental health issues.
While there can be a lot of reasons behind you not maintaining your physical health in college, we will only discuss a few.
For instance, you could have to juggle a tough college routine and a job. Since some students have a hard time managing college tuition, they could work harder than other students. You could also have other commitments, like building a relationship and attending other co-curricular activities.
If you are in this situation, it can rob you of the time needed for self-care. Even worse, it might take you some time to notice it.
This situation is unhealthy for you, but it can also elevate your stress levels, resulting in mental pressure.
You could find yourself being constantly tired, which can limit the time you commit to being physically active. You could also be mentally exhausted consistently, worsening any mental condition you experience.
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Getting Fit With the Help of an ESA
Getting an Emotional Support Animal could just be the solution you need to keep being physically active.
An ESA will help you in a number of ways. First of all, it can play the role of being your much-needed stress reliever. You will also be forced to take your Emotional Support Animal for a walk, which results in more physical activity for you.
Taking your Emotional Support Animal for a walk and playing around with it will become a routine with time. In turn, you end up exercising as a routine.
The fact that this will keep you active is a good thing. According to an article published on the Mental Health Foundation, exercise can be pivotal in keeping you physically and mentally fit, which can help keep mental issues at bay.
7. Keeping Depression at Bay Will Be Easy
It is a well-known fact that many college students struggle with depression, and there are many reasons behind this.
Some students might have already been dealing with depression, and attending college could worsen their condition. In this case, we are referring to chronic depression and not the temporary depression you could be struggling with. This is the kind of depression that could interfere with your life.
These are only but a few signs that you have depression. There are many reasons for depression among college students. Let’s discuss some of these reasons.
What Causes Depression among College Students?
You may have applied for student loans. While getting a student loan can feel like a relief at the time, it can be a challenge to pay down the loan in the future. The fact that it can take years to pay back the loans makes having student loans a life-long struggle.
To make matters worse, finding a well-paying job can be a struggle. Thinking about all this could make any student depressed, especially by the fact that they aren’t sure about how they can pay back the loan for students who don’t have someone to vent these frustrations to, keeping these thoughts to themselves can be self-destructive.
Everyone wants to feel like they belong in a community of their peers. You might find yourself yearning for your peers’ approval, which could result in you doing unacceptable things, such as doing drugs.
Doing things to get peers’ approval can negatively impact your mental health and easily result in you being depressed. There will be moments when you might be unhappy, yet you feel obliged to do things that your peers will love. This will lead you to the path of depression.
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Maintaining good grades can be a challenge at times. If you are a studious student or managed to get a scholarship throughout college, you will have to work overtime to manage your scholarship or grades. This could easily lead to you feeling mentally drained.
Even without having a relationship, college life can be tough. Getting into a relationship can add an extra layer of challenges to college life. You will need to think about your wellbeing as well as that of your loved ones.
Even worse, breaking up could result in you being constantly sad. Breakups can leave you emotionally drained and mentally disturbed. They can affect your normal schedule, result in your grades dropping, and make you lose mutual friends.
The kind of mental and emotional suffering you might go through will not be great for your wellbeing. It can result in a variety of mental health issues.
Regardless of why you are feeling depressed, the fact that you can manage your depression should offer some form of relief. You will only need to have a comfort-providing companion, and Emotional Support Animals can provide just that.
ESAs can help you calm your mind. The fact that it can play around with you and cuddle you could make your frustrations feel more manageable. Since Emotional Support Animals are great listeners, you can feel free to share your frustrations with them.
You might not know this, but these fluffy friends have a way of responding to humans. Sharing your story with your Emotional Support Animal will evoke a response from them – you can always rely on these animals’ love language.
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8. It Will Be Easier To Battle Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation is common among many college students. While some might struggle with it due to having a tough schedule, others might battle with sleep deprivation due to mental health conditions.
Whatever the reason might be, you need to know that sleep is essential for your wellbeing. Think of sleep as the time set aside for your brain to rest. Your brain is bound to be performing a number of functions each day. Even at night, your brain will still be attending to specific functions. Whenever you sleep, the body slows down some of its functions, which leads to the revitalization of the brain.
If your brain fails to get the rest it deserves, it might fail to properly handle critical functions. In fact, consistent sleep deprivation could leave you feeling mentally disturbed. Once the normal functioning of your brain is disturbed, it can hinder the release of specific hormones. One of those hormones most likely to be affected is the hormone melatonin, which promotes quality sleep.
This disruption of melatonin production further makes it tougher to get enough sleep. This vicious cycle could result in you struggling with a variety of mental conditions.
Maybe, you could have heard stories of people struggling to get enough sleep. Worry not; we have a solution for you. Keeping sleep deprivation at bay is quite easy.
Emotional Support Animals can help you battle sleep deprivation. Whenever you are struggling to get enough sleep, your emotional support animal will come to you and shower you with love. You might only need to stroke your Emotional Support Animal’s head for your mind to calm down, and this is the kind of relaxation you need.
In turn, your brain is bound to release the right amount of melatonin when relaxed, which could help you sleep better. Remember, getting quality sleep can help you focus on your studies.
9. ESAs Will Help You Keep Away Suicidal Thoughts
People struggling with mental conditions tend to go through a lot. Some of the symptoms they go through could be so intense that they could result in them contemplating suicide. Since suicide is typically the last resort, most afflicted people reach this point after losing hope in their life.
The issues mentioned above have a few commonalities, such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, and having negative thoughts.
Unfortunately, it is common for college students to go through this. If you or someone close to you is struggling with a mental health issue and is having suicidal thoughts, be sure to seek help from mental healthcare providers as soon as possible.
The mental healthcare providers approach will suggest a number of strategies to help keep suicidal thoughts at bay, and getting an Emotional Support Animal will be on top of the list. Instead of leaving your feelingsfeeling hidden inside, it is better to let your feelings out.
This is why getting an ESA is essential. These fluffy buddies can make it easy for you to express your emotions without fearing being judged. Your Emotional Support Animal will be a great listener. They will try to understand your feelings and frustrations and reciprocate accordingly.
You can rely on your furry friend to help you find tranquility by showering you with the affection you need. It will come to your rescue whenever you are feeling down, which could provide an ultimate solution for your problems.
Now that we are done talking about how an emotional support animal can help you get through college, it is time we talked about the steps you should follow to get an Emotional Support Animal.
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Steps For Getting An Emotional Support Animal Letter:
Step 1: Fill Out the Form
The first step is to fill out an online application form. The form will require you to provide some basic information about yourself and any pets that you have. You will also be required to include some information about your medical history.
Step 2: Make an Appointment
Once you are done filling the form, you will be taken to the next step, which will require you to select a date and time that will be most appropriate for an appointment. Pay attention to your schedule to pick the ideal appointment date.
Step 3: Consult With an LMHP
Once the day of the appointment arrives, do not hold back any details about your current condition. Taking this step will ensure that the LMHP understands your condition better since different people suffer through different symptoms.
Once you are done sharing these details, the LMHP may require you to undergo some tests. Your LMHP will then offer an ESA recommendation letter based on the results of your test and your emotional need.
Q: What Is An ESA Recommendation Letter?
ESA is the short form for Emotional Support Animal. An ESA letter is a document that people with mental health disorders get from licensed mental healthcare providers.
The letter acts as a legal permit that allows you to have your pet with you in spaces where animals might not be welcome. For instance, you might be discouraged from having your pet with you within the campus or when traveling to campus- if you don’t have an ESA letter.
Q: Can I Turn My Pet Into An ESA?
Yes, you can turn your pet into an Emotional Support Animal. However, you will need to get an ESA letter from a licensed expert for you to do this. Your LMHP will need to assess and verify your mental condition before they can offer you the letter.
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Your time in college needs to be less stressful and more memorable. This is why we took our time to discuss everything in detail, including the different aspects of a college student’s ordinary life and how getting a fuzzy and warm animal as an ESA can help you with your troubles.
So, don’t just sit there expecting your life to turn around by itself. You need to take the necessary step to improve your wellbeing. Get an ESA today to make your college life more fulfilling.