To me, the best thing about my setup, hands down, is my puppy 🐶 . Whether on my lap or roaming around on the floor of my office, she keeps me company while I work. And right now, she's helping me with a deep learning project.
I can also feel the difference she makes. I feel more optimistic and productive 😅 . Pets have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, boost self-esteem and empathy, and mitigate depression. Some immediate effects of petting a friendly dog include lowering blood pressure, slowing heart rate, relaxing muscle tension, increased oxytocin, and more regular breathing. Mental health matters!
For instance, now that I'm working on the second edition of my book "Interpretable Machine Learning with Python" 📖 and facing crippling writer's block, putting her on my lap and petting her for a while helps me overcome anxiety.