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Learn FromYour Pets and Get Healthier Too!

Learn FromYour Pets and Get Healthier Too!

    “A dog has a lot of friends because he wags his tail and not his tongue.” – Anonymous

    Even if they do not know it, pets can teach us a lot about life and happiness. No matter what kind of hair day we are having, how deflated we feel, or whether or not we said or did something stupid, they love us anyway. Nothing is going to keep them away from wanting to nuzzle up to you and lick your face – no matter what!

    For instance, you do not need to actually have a dog to appreciate the appeal of being greeted at the door with a wagging tail, eager to greet you like you are the most important person in the world.

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    • Pets do not judge you and find fault — they accept you as you are unconditionally.
    • Since they do not judge, they will not notice or remember what you did wrong and therefore will never remind you!
    • They don’t ask for much more than the basics — food, shelter and your company – they take what they can get!
    • They have mastered the art of radical acceptance and unconditional love.
    • They show appreciation and can give love without expecting much in return
    • They are living in the moment — they do not get hung up on what happened, what might have happened, and what might happen in the future.

    Learning from what pets can teach us will keep you focused on many key ingredientsfor success in relationships and in life: love, acceptance, forgiveness, compassion, loyalty and a total focus on today.

    There is also considerable evidence that pets are actually good for your health. Medical issues ranging from high blood pressure, depression and even allergies have been shown to be alleviated by having pets. Yes — even allergies!

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    Despite the common notion that pets and people who are allergic do not jive, in actuality studies that shown that infants who grow up in a homes with furry friends are actually are less likely to be allergic to pets. Researcher James Gem, M.D. states that actually children growing up with furred animals have less incidence of eczema and stronger immune systems. Drs. Rita and Blair Justice of University of Texas medical center even compare petting a dog with eating chocolate, claiming both have been are helpful in releasing the “feel-good” chemicals like serotonin that and other brain chemicals that they measured while studying the effects of pets on the brain.

    Pets can even improve your work life. Having pets in the office have actually been shown to increase productivity as well as morale! I assume, of course, they need to be the well-behaved type!

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    And don’t forget (of course) that pets are a date magnet, and a wonderful social lubricant to meet friends and break into conversations with a cute focal point that already makes people smile!

    So next time you want a health or social boost, or are anchored down by regrets and misgivings of the past, reach for a pet and feel good!

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    My question to you: Would your life be different if you followed the lessons of acceptance, unconditional love and present-centeredness that pets can teach you? If so, how? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

    (Photo credit: Young Gorl Happy to Lay With Dog via Shutterstock)

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    Judy Belmont

    Mental health author, motivational speaker and psychotherapist

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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    Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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