Our beloved pets can trigger feelings of joy in several ways…

First, there’s the Japanese concept of “kawaii” – which literally translates to the word “cute.” The concept of kawaii involves gazing at a picture of your pet, which has been shown to dramatically improve a person’s mood. Neuroscientists from the University of Victoria, in Canada, say looking at a picture of your pet instantly releases the feel-good brain chemical dopamine.

Another way your pet can trigger joy: Snuggling with them. Just 3 minutes of cuddling a pet floods the brain with the love hormone oxytocin.

Finally, even if you aren’t a pet OWNER, you can get a happiness boost from being in the presence of any adorable animal for 15 minutes. Plus, it reduces stress by 40%.

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