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Let Your Pet Help You Manage Stress

Have you ever found yourself unable to move off your couch because your gorgeous, much-loved pet has curled up next to you or has settled themselves so firmly on your lap that you're loathe to disturb them? Are there times when your pet is languishing across your keyboard and you're praying that they don't press 'send' on a half-finished email, yet you're loving the fact that they're supervising your work!

- Being close to your pet helps keep you calmer, even if you do have a wry smile on your face due to their antics. When you've 'no choice' you can gradually allow yourself to relax in their company. It's a wonderful feeling to be so trusted by a creature that feels secure and is totally at ease with you. And after a busy day filled with a miscellany of sometimes stressful experiences dedicating attention to your pet can be a great way to manage stress.

- Pets have no agenda. When you walk through the door you may be greeted by exuberant paws, be expected to take them for a walk, replenish their food bowl and be completely there for them. Those moments of enforced pet-time can be a delicious opportunity to recharge your batteries and overcome the urgent mental prompts about what you should/ought/must be doing next. What's more precious than spending time going for a walk or settling down with a gently dozing creature who's totally at peace and curled up next to you?

- Sometimes we have to park our to do list for now and give in to those moments, accepting them as a good reason to stop running from one job to the next. Ignoring your pet is futile, so attending to them might as well become your main priority.

- Why not turn those moments into something even more special by allowing yourself to really celebrate the connection you have with your beautiful companion. When they are relaxing peacefully on your lap you may not even be able to reach your phone or the TV remote control. There's no real option but to simply sit it out.

- So, turn your attention away from external distractions. Stroke their coat and enjoy its feel and texture. Is it soft and silky or has it a more coarse feel to it? Tune in to their smell, their breathing, the little sounds they perhaps make. Smile at any tremors or movements - are they chasing or playing in their dreams?

- As your internal chatter calms and settles, become more mindful and tuned in to your own breathing, each breath becoming a calmer, more relaxed experience. Notice your body; is there any tension in your shoulders, chest, stomach, back? Allow it to subside.

You know that you're not going to be moving for a while so commit to enjoying those few meaningful moments and value the special gift that your beautiful pet is giving you. Appreciate some time out as quality time for yourself, a very precious present and way to manage stress.

About Author -

Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support. She's author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all on Amazon. To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit 


Cheshire based author, a regular expert guest on BBC radio, columnist, relationship counsellor and hypnotherapist with over 20 years’ experience.

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Mental Health Pet Stress


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In recent years, the mainstream media has spoken a lot about mental health. What this has done is created greater awareness around this important topic; something that might not have occurred otherwise.

There are at least two ways that this source has played a part. Firstly, it has spoken about this area directly and, secondly, it has provided certain public figures with a platform to share their own challenges.

Out of the Dark

There is then likely to have been plenty of people who have benefit from what this source has covered in recent years. For one thing, it may have allowed them to realise that they are not the only ones who are going through a tough time.

Their experience would have been normalised, allowing them to reach out for the support that they needed. Yet, even if there are people who haven’t taken this step, at least they will know that they are not the only ones in this position.

A New View

When it comes to the public figures that have opened up about their own struggles, some of these people may have changed how some people perceive mental health problems. One reason for this is that some these people will have been perceived as being strong and having it altogether.

Said another way, as these people have struggled it will have meant that having mental problems doesn’t mean that someone is weak or incapable, for instance. If anything, it simply shows that they are human.

An Important Step

Naturally, if something is seen as a weakness, it is going to be normal for someone to do what they can to cover it up. Opening up abut what they are going through will be seen as something that could cause them to be ostracised.

Taking this into account, the sports stars and actors/actresses that have come forward and opened up have played a key role in changing how mental health problems are viewed. These people are just expressing the truth: having mental problems doesn’t mean that someone is weak, worthless or incapable.

A Process

Sadly, there are people out there that won’t have been impacted by any of this, which will mean that they will continue to suffer in silence. For others, hearing about this in the media will have opened them up to reaching out, but they might not know what do to next.

And even for those that have reached out, they may have felt that the support that they did receive was inadequate. In each of these cases, it will be essential for them to think about the fact that they don’t deserve to experience life in this way and that they need to keep going until they receive the assistance that they need.

The Other Side

However, although the mainstream media has played a key role in redefining how some people view mental health problems, and are continuing to do so, it doesn’t mean that they haven’t also played a part in the challenges that some people have had, and still have. To get an idea of what is being spoken about here; one only needs to think about what this source of information typically focuses on.

For so long, this source has focused on stories that are fear-based and, in recent years, this source has given a lot of attention to stories that are designed to cause outrage. It is then as if this source is serving medicine with one hand and poison with the other.

The First Part

When it comes to the fear-based content, this could relate to the need to attack another country due to some made up reason, for instance. Not doing so will be presented as something that would put their very survival at risk.

Hearing stories like this, along with a host of others, can set someone up to experience a fair among of fear and anxiety. Thanks to this fake news - the very thing that this source accuses the alternative media of - so many people will be kept in a continual state of existential angst.

The Second Part

When it comes to the content designed to cause outrage, it could relate to what someone has said or their interpretation of what has been said. The intention will most likely be to get as many people as possible to react in a certain way.

This source will be saying jump and there will be plenty of people who are willing to jump. As a result of this, these people can end up being consumed by anger or rage, with their stress levels going through the roof in the process.

A Fine Line

Clearly, no longer paying attention to what is going in the world is not the answer; this would just cause someone to be uniformed. Nonetheless, there is a massive difference between paying attention to sources that exist to inform and sources that exist to brainwash.

Living in a place of fear or outrage is not going to benefit ones mental and emotional health. Thus, if someone is sucked into what the mainstream media is trying to sell them, it is not going to be a surprise if their inner world is not in a good way.

Conclusion

This is not to say that they will experience inner peace if they no longer pay attention to this source, as there may be other steps that they need to take. There are many things that have an effect on their inner world, including: what they eat, who they spend time with, their sleeping habits, what they do for a living, how long they spend in nature, and the amount of exercise they do, amongst other things.

Along with this, there is the effect that their early years may have had on their brain and body. Having good mental and emotional health is then not about doing one thing in particular; it is about living in the right way.

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