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Feeling uptight, stressed out? Don't yell at the dog or kick the cat.  In fact, if you're feeling wound up, find a dog or cat to pet!

Researchers in the Palouse at Washington State University found college students who spent even just ten minutes with a cat and/or dog had their moods lifted significantly.

When tested, students who interacted with the animals had significantly lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in their bodies. The finding is important, because reducing stress has benefits for both physical and mental health.

Scientists at Washington State University "have recently demonstrated that, in addition to improving students' moods, these programs can actually get "under the skin" and have stress-relieving physiological benefits."

Take away?  Don't just put up with family pets. Put them to work, spend some time in contact and play and you'll both benefit.