Over the last decade, millennials’ mental health has taken a steep decline as various stressors—like economic insecurity and civil unrest—become more prominent. Depression and anxiety disorders have become common among 24-to-38-year-olds as they struggle to pay bills, afford medical care, and fight-off loneliness. However, the silver lining among the mess is millennials’ diligence in destigmatizing mental illness.

Millennials are incredibly open and honest about their (sometimes multiple) mental disabilities. Although previously taboo, conversations about mental health are destigmatizing, leading many to seek healing through less expensive routes, as opposed to traditionally pricey medical treatments. One fun, effective solution millennials are utilizing to fix mental instability are emotional support animals.

Emotional support animals (ESAs) have grown in popularity over time as people turn to non-traditional mental health solutions. ESAs—specifically emotional support dogs—are easy to obtain and perfect for people looking for unconditional love and support.

Best breeds for emotional support

When it comes to ESAs, most millennials opt for furry companions to nurse emotional wounds. Support dogs can offer individuals suffering from various mental ailments, friendship, distraction, and comfort from everyday stressors. Begin your ESA journey by selecting the perfect breed for your needs.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are the most common ESA because of their patient, friendly nature. Their innate ability to comfort and interest in learning new tasks make them the perfect companion for life’s sorrows.

Labrador Retriever

Sitting right below Goldens on the list of emotional-support-friendly breeds are Labrador Retrievers. This energetic, eager to please dog will be excited to help you make it through the bumpiest emotional rollercoasters.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

On the smaller side of dog breeds is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Spaniels are known for their comforting abilities and affinity for super-snuggles.

For millennials who can’t afford an ESA, try tuning in to a puppy live stream for serotonin-boosting effects.

Benefits of emotional support dogs

They help stabilize intense emotions

The main reason most people gravitate toward emotional support animals to help regulate out-of-control emotions is their intrinsic ability to calm and comfort. As millennials become increasingly familiar with mood disorders and emotional breakdowns, the need for specialized treatment is in high demand. Although ESAs shouldn’t replace professional treatment or medication, they can help alleviate daily triggers and anxieties.

They provide unconditional love

A well-known, unfortunate symptom of multiple mood disorders—like depression, anxiety, and PTSD— is loneliness. As millennials sink deeper into mental illness pitfalls, isolation often takes over as many remove themselves from friends and family while others are pushed aside by stigmatization. ESAs can help eradicate feelings of isolation and loneliness by offering constant support, companionship, and calming cuddles.

Keep you motivated

Millennials who experience mental-illness-related complications frequently report feeling fatigued and unmotivated. Luckily, for those willing to take on dog-related commitments, ESAs provide a quick-fix for feelings of mental and physical exhaustion.

Dogs require a certain amount of maintenance, exercise, and attention, which can be beneficial for people lacking routine as it gives them a reason to get up and move. Fresh-air-filled walks, routine cleanings, and frequent playtime stimulate you and your dog, giving you a sense of responsibility and control.

Before you go

Emotional support dogs are a modern take on mental health, and millennials are spearheading the movement. If you find yourself stuck in all-too-common mental anguish, consider ESAs for a holistic approach to health and healing.