A study out of the Netherlands finds hugging cows helps alleviate stress.

DONAHUE, Iowa — “Who needs a stress-ball when you have a cow.”

Are you experiencing anxiety or high levels of stress? Well, nature has a solution. Hug a cow!

Fifth generation dairy farmer John Maxwell says cuddling his girls releases feel good vibes, “It gets your mind off the things that are worrying you.”

“One of my parents passed away, to just be part of the cows, to feed them, scratch them, to sit down with them, it just helps so much.”

Cow hugging helps promote positivity and reduce stress, increasing the hormone oxytocin, which is the social bonding hormone.”

Nurse practitioner, Chris McCormick Pries, says our bond with animals can benefit our mental health, “Reduce anxiety, reduces blood pressure, reduces heart rate.”

This theory extends to our pets. “When people experience anxiety, pets become their way of getting our of their apartment or their home,” says McCormick Pries.

John knows each of his 240 ladies by name and personality. “The jersey breed is very gregarious they are wanting to be around you, they are wanting to do things with you.”

An inquisitive bunch, being among the cows, really is John’s happy place..

“The best things in life are right here amongst the cows.”

According to researchers, cow hugging has been happening across the Dutch countryside for more than a decade.

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