Team Up with a Dog to Fight Homesickness

May 16, 2017
When you're away from your loved ones, you miss them. You think it's impossible to live without them. However, one study has shown that the best thing to fight homesickness is to get a dog.

Nostalgia is the pain or unease you feel after losing someone or something that you loved. According to Freud, when this happens you think that a part of yourself has left with them, and so this emotion can go downhill even to the point of depressionTeam up with a dog to fight homesickness and nostalgia.

Here a few strategies to manage and fight homesickness.

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Popular culture has taught us that the best thing to do when you lose someone is to look for something or someone else to pour all this love into.

However, there are easier ways of dealing with the situation than by replacing one love for another.

One is to get a pet or spend regular time with a loving animal. Usually people choose a dog — after all, they’re loyal and loving.

Well, it turns out that this theory actually has a basis in science. A team of researchers at the University of British Colombia has proven it in this study.

In this study, students that had to move for college got over the separation better when they had a dog to help them with the homesickness.

The direct result of this was better academic performance.

The Negative Effects of Homesickness

Girl looking out window raining feeling sad fight homesickness

Homesickness keeps you looking backward too much. The past is where the person you miss is, and that’s the place you long to go back to.

Therefore, things that happen in the present seem dull in comparison to your idealized memories. Additionally, the future just seems like a confusing, far-off place.

Somehow, you’re still living in the “yesterday” you long for, making today and tomorrow unimportant.

So when your homesickness turns into a state of being instead of a place you visit from time to time, you forget your goals.

Nostalgia traps you at a certain age, keeping you from the particular advantages each stage of life offers. It’s not that you’re throwing them away; you just don’t see them.

In this sense, you don’t give your work or classes the attention they deserve, you don’t think about what you really want, you don’t experience this new journey with the passion you hoped for when you started it.

This is why it’s so important that more studies are done in this field, especially for young adults.

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Therapy Animals Help Fight Homesickness

Animal assisted therapy dog and man first year university students fight homesickness with animal therapy

The researchers compiled information from 44 universities. They selected first-year students who indicated they were homesick and asked them to fill out a questionnaire to measure their homesickness as well as their connection with campus life.

Then, they chose a group to do animal-assisted therapy. The other group would wait their turn for eight weeks.

The students who received therapy were given 45 minutes every week with small groups of dogs to fight homesickness. After the eight weeks, the students filled out the same questionnaire from the beginning of the study a second time.

The results were illuminating: those in the first group reported much less homesickness and better moods.

As for the students who did not get the therapy, their mood worsened.

The individual stories of these students were positively affected, but animals can also make a difference in your story. When you need to fight homesickness, consider animal therapy or getting a pet. Just be sure that you’re ready for the lifelong commitment of taking care of an animal.

  • Binfet, J. T., & Passmore, H. A. (2016). Hounds and homesickness: The effects of an animal-assisted therapeutic intervention for first-year university students. Anthrozoös29(3), 441-454.