The Health Benefits of Pet Ownership
by Melissa Hoffman
Dogs and cats make great pets; they’re playful and provide companionship, but they can also keep us healthy, physically and psychologically. Below are five health-related benefits of owning a pet.
Benefit 1: Dogs help trim waistlines and much more.
On average, people who own a dog are more physically active and healthier than those who don’t. Dr. Nancy Hayes, veterinarian and co-owner of Whitney Veterinary Hospital and Cat Care Clinic in Peoria, recommends taking your dog for a 30-minute walk each day. According to Mayo Clinic, walking lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, reduces risk for diabetes and helps manage weight.
Benefit 2: Pets are good for the heart.
A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology examined about 400 American men suffering from cardiovascular disease and found pet ownership had an impact on lowering mortality rates. According to research conducted by the Minnesota Stroke Institute, cats reduce stress and anxiety, which are linked to coronary disease, heart attacks and strokes.
Benefit 3: Pets boost our mood.
Being with a dog or cat can help people reduce their anxiety and feel less stressed. “Cats are especially beneficial psychologically because they offer companionship and are very loveable,” said Dr. Marie Baker of Whitney Veterinary Hospital. “With the current economy, some people might hesitate to get a pet, but the cost of owning a healthy cat is relatively low.”
Benefit 4: Pets decrease loneliness.
Pets provide companionship and unconditional love. The American Veterinary Medical Association says pets create opportunities for exercise, outdoor activities and socialization. “People experience stress when they lack support and are socially isolated, but a pet can help mitigate this problem,” said Dr. Tracy Myers, veterinarian at Whitney Veterinary Hospital.
Benefit 5: Pets aid child development.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says learning to care for an animal with patience and kindness will help children learn to treat people in the same manner. There is no doubt that pets can play an important role is a child’s life.
Gratitude Increases Productivity
A recent Gallup poll showed that 65 percent of people say they don’t feel appreciated at work, which not only affects the morale of employees, but also their companies’ bottom lines. Liz Jazwiec, author of Eat That Cookie! Make Workplace Positivity Pay Off…For Individuals, Teams and Organizations, says, “When you feel that your boss doesn’t fully value your work…you don’t provide the kind of service you would if you felt appreciated. And when the majority of the people in a workplace feel this way, the overall environment is hugely impacted. Productivity decreases, turnover increases, and it can become very difficult to stay afloat, especially in a tough economy.”
By increasing gratitude in the workplace, Jazwiec says, employees feel more valued, and thus, produce more and higher caliber work. She offers these tips for infusing gratitude in your workplace:
- Say thanks.
- Adopt an “it’s the thought that counts” attitude.
- Communicate openly and honestly.
- Be prepared for some kind words.
- Thank those you serve.
- Know that gratitude encourages repeat performances.
Free Shipping Day
Each year, Americans spend lots of time and money on Christmas shopping. Some camp out or stand in long lines on “Black Friday,” while others wait until the last minute and check off their lists the week before Christmas. But as Luke Knowles found, online shopping tends to decline around December 12th each year, creating a lag in business for those merchants who rely on internet sales for much of their profits. To offset this, last year Knowles created the first annual Free Shipping Day—a day on which select merchants agree to offer free shipping for online orders, and guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve. This year, Free Shipping Day will take place on Thursday, December 17th, and a list of participating merchants is available at FreeShippingDay.com.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Job Descriptions
Writing job descriptions is no easy task. In fact, many times those in charge of writing job descriptions have never done it before. HR Daily Advisor offers a few tricks to keep your job descriptions brief and accurate:
- Use a direct style for the description.
- Simplify sentence structure and omit any words that don’t give necessary information.
- Explain the job’s objectives, duties and responsibilities.
- Avoid words that could be interpreted differently by different people.
- Always use the present tense and active, third-person singular verbs.
- Describe the desired outcome, not the method of the work.
- Focus only on activities that are essential to the job.
- Use terms like “may” and “occasionally” carefully.
- Use specific terms, but avoid technical language.
- Don’t refer to specific individuals. Instead, use job titles.
- Be precise when defining the level of responsibility the job entails.
- Use a logical sequence when describing duties and responsibilities.
- Remember the length of the job description does not indicate the job’s importance.
Once job descriptions are written, the most important thing is to make sure they stay up-to-date and comply with the ADA’s requirements. For more information on the ADA’s current and proposed requirements, visit ada.gov.
Tackle Holiday Debt
Gift giving is a significant part of the holiday season for Americans, but if you’re not careful, you may find yourself piled up with debt. But if you take the following advice from First Bank, you may be able to stay in the black. Here are some of their tips for taking control of holiday debt.
- Take all but one credit card out of your wallet. If they’re simply not available, you’ll think twice before purchasing.
- Set a “holiday” budget. Be realistic about how much money you have to spend this year.
- Create a holiday gift list early on, and stick to it.
- Shop for gifts year-round. You may be able to find a better price and keep your budget from being hit all at once.
- Look for deals such as free shipping if you’re an internet shopper.
- Window-shop online to compare prices before stepping into a store. The process will also lessen your urge for impulse buys.
- Don’t carry holiday debt from one year to the next. Resolve to spend only what you can afford and don’t go overboard. iBi