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How You Should Communicate with Cat-People and Dog-People

How You Should Communicate with Cat-People and Dog-People

A few weeks ago my partner and I were having one of those deep, tough discussions between two very different personalities who were trying to harmonize and understand each other as our lives were changing.

As we talked, the subject of our pets came up: How have they been faring as our lives have been evolving?

“The cats are fine.” I said. “It’s Bowser I’m worried about. It’s the difference between cats and dogs.”

And thus the inspiration for this article . . .

Are you a cat-person or dog-person?

Here are some characteristics of cats and dogs and the people who love them, followed by suggestions of how to make it all work!

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Cats

Cats are independent and low-maintenance. They don’t need to be taken out. All you need to do is keep up with the litterbox, feed them, and clip their nails when they start getting sharp. Cats are touch-and-go, sometimes cozying up to you and sometimes nowhere to be found.

They are sometimes curious about new people, sometimes indifferent, and they don’t ask for attention – they take it! They’ll sit on you, nuzzle you, walk across you, and love on you (or your laptop) – unless they are busy doing something else, of course.

If they haven’t seen you for a long while, they may come and greet you, but they don’t dwell on it. They’re cats.

Cats can be relatively persnickety about cleanliness – but if they’re upset about something, they’ll let you know with an unpleasant mess outside their box.

Cats do things their own way. They may come and sit on your lap — but don’t try to pick them up and put them there yourself — they are not in the mood just now. And if you get up from your chair, expect it to be the cat’s seat when you get back. Cats are easily bored but also easily entertained if you give them access to a window or a box.

They are great hunters but play around with their prey. Cats are also very sensitive and keenly intuitive. When I’m agitated, my cats get agitated and fight each other. When I’m depressed, they tend to come and cuddle. They seem to see and understand things beyond our human capabilities – but the joke is that they may not care enough to do anything about it.

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Are you a Cat-Person?

Cats work for me because they are independent and low-maintenance. As long as a person can stand the litterbox, cats are great.

I am not a homebody and like to get out often. I got two cats so that they can keep each other company and don’t need me around.

I like that I can stay out late or leave town for a bit, and the cats will still be calm and content when I return (as long as someone pops in once or twice to clean the litterbox and top off the food and water).

So then one day, I, the cat-person, got a dog . . .

Dogs

I discovered dogs can be dependent and high-maintenance.  I was dismayed to discover that there is a “puppy phase” – there is nothing like that for cats – and that’s when I began to refer to our pup as “your dog” and had nightmares that he would never ever grow up. (Thankfully he eventually did.)

Dogs need to be taken out many times a day. They also need to be fed — and once they get a taste of human food — they will hover around the kitchen and sniff around at your feet, in case some tasty morsel should fall.

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Dogs are loyal and loving and feel a need to be around you and know where you are at all times. My dog will follow me up and down the stairs and will bark at me frantically if I walk out the front door and get the mail without him.

Dogs are protectors, barking at anyone who comes within yards of the house and may go absolutely crazy if someone actually approaches the door — until they know for sure that you’ve accepted this person. Dogs may feel abandoned when you leave the house and are ecstatic when you return.

Dogs smell until you bathe them. And then they are quick to get dirty again. But they are incredibly loyal and loving.

They want to please you and will do whatever they can to get in your good graces. They can take a great amount of loving from kids and just want to play with you and love you – always.

If they could, they would sit on your lap — and some actually do, even though they shouldn’t. Dogs may not be as intuitive as cats, but they’re pretty smart, and some have been known to save lives.

Are you a Dog-Person?

Dog-people are content to be home. They like people, but they don’t need to be out and about, and they don’t understand why you would want to be away so much – there’s plenty to do in the house!

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Dog-people are caring, empathetic, and loyal. And like dogs, they just want to be around you, even if you’re both doing your own thing, not interacting with each other.

So, how do you keep from fighting like cats and dogs?

It’s easier than you might think!

If you’re living a cat-person, be sure to give your partner some space. The cat-person will want to go out and explore – but will want to cozy up to you, too.

Make sure to plan some exciting things to do together and be prepared for the occasional hijinks and drama. Be sure to give your cat-person attention . . . and be patient.

If you’re living with a dog-person, schedule some regular time together (date night!), and stay in communication about your outside activities as much as possible.

Be sure to show your appreciation for your partner’s loyalty, give positive feedback . . . and be patient!

Featured photo credit: Victor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

Social Media Could Lead to Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

• low self-esteem,

• negative self-talk,

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• a low mood,

• irritability,

• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

• and social withdrawal.

If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

Why We Need to Take This Seriously

Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

Advice on Social Media Use

Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

Reference

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