Let cats be your mentors
“When it comes to boosting a
person’s inner feel-good hormones, pets are super” says Dale L. Anderson, a
board-certified surgeon trained in holistic medicine. He continues, “I’ve
often told some of my more highly stressed patients to spend more quiet time
with their cats and dogs.” Rolan
Tripp, DVM, concurs, “Cats have the ability to raise the level of serotonin,
the feel-good hormone, in their owners, much as Prozac does. We can measure the
chemical changes occurring in the brain.”
Ten relaxation techniques you can learn from your pet:
natural yoga teachers. Cats know and show us the value of stretching. Our
tight and achy muscles welcome a good, soft stretch anytime, but especially in
the morning before we get up. Muscles are warm from bed, and it’s a great way
to start the day. Try it.
the therapeutic value of touch. So do dogs and other animals. They know when
they need a cuddle, and usually when you need one as well. You may find, that
although the times when they ask for attention may be an interruption for you, the relaxation and touch will be a therapeutic time-out.
the value of solitude. Few of us in this world spend any time alone. The
phone is ringing, or we are on the computer. The family is in need
of our presence. Try finding 5 or 10 minutes
a day to spend by yourself without interruption. We need quiet and
solitude to recharge our batteries. Those of
us who run on low energy as it is
probably need it even more.
the importance of power napping. Any
of us who have pets know that
they sleep a good part of the day. If you are
tired or sleepy, it makes sense to nap. But we are so conditioned by society
that it is “lazy” to sleep during the day, we do ourselves the disservice of
struggling to stay awake even when we are exhausted. Could we learn from our
5. Cats know the value of eating right. Cats are picky eaters. They eat small amounts when they are hungry. They love fish, which is high in good fatty acids. There are many studies that show that humans would be wise to eat 5 or 6 small meals a day instead of 3 large ones. Yet most of us continue to follow that routine, even when it is not necessary.
6. Cats walk
away from irritating scenes. When faced
with the option of sticking around or leaving screaming
children, noisy vacuum cleaners or loud-talking visitors, cats
usually retreat to quieter places in the home. They
aren’t being rude; they recognize they don’t need to subject themselves to
an unpleasant situation. “Cats will walk
away from irritating situations rather than be confrontational, which requires a
lot more energy, and a lot more stress.” Anderson says, “They go to places
where there is better chemistry. We can’t always leave unpleasant situations,
but when we get the opportunities, we should take a lesson from our cats and
walk away. It is far healthier on our bodies.” For those of us who suffer with
CFIDS/FM, this is very important advice. We need to make more opportunities to walk away, and save our energy for
positive things rather than irritating or confrontational situations.
Cats live in
the present. How many of us, me included, find ourselves stressing about
what we should do in the future, or what we should have done in the past. We
spend time worrying about what will happen if a particular event occurs. All of
our stress and worrying just decreases the amount of energy we have to do what
we need and want to do in the present.
Cats are candid. They will ask for what they
need and want. We worry about whether we should expose our need and ask for help - or if that request will inconvenience another person. We don’t want to be a burden. But if it
is something we truly need, it certainly takes less energy to ask than to hint and hope the request will be understood.
In addition, we save ourselves the
aggravation of not
having the need met.
practice good hygiene. For some
of us, simply taking a shower is all of our energy for the day. But we feel
better, and more relaxed when the shower is over. Taking care of one’s self is
important. I know I certainly feel better about the
day when my face is washed and my hair combed. If I can get through that, I can tackle the rest
of the day. After I
rest, of course!
not materialistic. Many of us
have learned this by buying toys for our pets, which sit and do nothing, while
the pet chases shadows, or plays with piece of lint on the
carpet. Trying to ‘keep up with the neighbors’ is
stressful, both emotionally and financially, especially for those of us on fixed
incomes. Learning to use our money
wisely, for our comfort, is more important than the image we present to others.
Cats simply don’t care. Why should we?