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Good News: Cats Are Good For Your Health

Good News: Cats Are Good For Your Health

Scientists studying the human-animal bond have discovered there are health benefits of owning a cat. Yes, even that belittled “black cat” can be good for you!

1. Help your cardiovascular system

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    Studies at the University of Minnesota determined those who did not own cats were 30-40% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than cat owners were. (Sorry, dog owners, you don’t see the same benefit.) The chance of death from sudden heart attack is reduced, too, for cat owners. A study funded by the NIH determined that pet owners were more likely than non-owners to survive a heart attack, regardless of the severity of that attack.
    Other research suggests that owning a cat compares favorably with going on a low-salt diet for reducing heart disease risk.

    2. Help your immune system

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      The immune system gets a boost from the feeling you get just by owning a cat. Owning a cat may lead to improved social support, reduced depression, and more laughter, play and exercise – all of these help your immune system function better.
      And cats can tell when you’re not feeling well. They help you get better by coming to comfort you.

      3. Avoid allergies and respiratory problems

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        Children who are raised around cats (and dogs) develop immunity to allergens at an early age. The incidence of respiratory problems, including asthma, is reduced in children exposed to cats early in their lives.
        As a bonus, children raised with pets appear to develop greater empathy for the feelings of others and relate better to other people.

        4. Lower your blood pressure

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          Petting your cat is calming and reduces your blood pressure. Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo found lower blood pressure in the study subjects who owned pets compared with those who did not.

          5. Lower your cholesterol and triglycerides

          Diet and exercise go a long way toward reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but owning a cat helps, too. A 2006 Canadian study found owning a cat lowered cholesterol better than even some medications.

          6. Reduce your stroke risk

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            A University of Minnesota study determined cat ownership can reduce your stroke risk by up to one-third!

            7. Heal your bones and muscles

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              Cats purr at a frequency between 20-140 Hz, which is known to have therapeutic effects. Bones heal best at 25 Hz and 50 Hz frequencies (and 100 Hz and 200 Hz are also helpful). Soft tissues like muscles, tendons and ligaments heal faster at these frequencies. And infections and swelling are also healed in this frequency range.

              8. Reduce anxiety and stress

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                In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, with more work and less socializing, interacting with a pet brings play-time and creativity back into your life. Caring for your cat and cuddling with your cat take your mind off your own worries and reduce your levels of anxiety and stress.

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                9. Improve your mood, relieve depression

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                  Cats may have the reputation of being solitary, unsocial animals but cat owners know this is not the case. The love and companionship of a cat helps you feel better about life in general and can lift your mood and lessen feelings of depression.

                  10. Reduce loneliness

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                    Having a person-cat connection is a form of social interaction. If your group of friends is small, or far away, your cat can help relieve your feelings of loneliness. If you come home to an empty house at the end of the day, spending time with your cat can uplift your mood.
                    Families today are smaller and often far apart. Empty-nesters fulfill the need to nurture and find a reason to get up in the morning by owning a cat. The social support provided by your pet may encourage you to interact more with other people.

                    11. Therapy pets reduce medical expenses

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                      People who own cats make fewer doctor and hospital visits. When they do visit the hospital, they are discharged earlier. Overall, their medical expenses are reduced.
                      Therapy dogs are fairly common in nursing homes and special-needs schools, but there are therapy cats, too. Cats know who needs a good purring!

                      12. Exercise

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                        Cats don’t need as much exercise as dogs, but they still love to play. Make your cat your exercise buddy and help him bat a toy mouse around! Watch your cat and learn how to stretch! Observe how many times your cat stretches – and when he does it – and join in!
                        The “pet effect” can improve your quality of life. Cats may not be able to confer their “9 lives” onto their owners, but you can improve the one life you do have by sharing it with a cat!

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                        Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                        Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                        your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                          Why You Need a Vision

                          Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                          How to Create Your Life Vision

                          Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                          What Do You Want?

                          The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                          It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                          Some tips to guide you:

                          • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                          • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                          • Give yourself permission to dream.
                          • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                          • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                          Some questions to start your exploration:

                          • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                          • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                          • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                          • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                          • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                          • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                          • What qualities would you like to develop?
                          • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                          • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                          • What would you most like to accomplish?
                          • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                          It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                          What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                          Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                          A few prompts to get you started:

                          • What will you have accomplished already?
                          • How will you feel about yourself?
                          • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                          • What does your ideal day look like?
                          • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                          • What would you be doing?
                          • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                          • How are you dressed?
                          • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                          • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                          • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                          It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                          Plan Backwards

                          It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                          • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                          • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                          • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                          • What important actions would you have had to take?
                          • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                          • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                          • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                          • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                          • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                          Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                          It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                          Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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