Updated: Apr 30, 2019
Stress - Why Knowledge is Power
When we have information, we are able to act on that information in order to effect positive change and better care for ourselves and those in our care. Understanding the impact of stress provides us with a foundation from which to make informed decisions about our habits and take enlightened action toward creating a more optimal experience of life.
Stress involves both the psychological perception of pressure...or threat...and the body's physiological response to it. Stress can affect our mood and emotional responses leading to anxiety, depression, anger or irritability. Chronic stress also results in measurable effects in the physical body which may contribute to physical illness or disease. Additionally, stress has been shown to decrease cognitive function. In short, stress is a recognized contributing factor to experiencing unhappiness, physical illness, mental impairment and the inability to think clearly.
Life will always bring ups and downs. That we can't change. But we can control how we interact with these life experiences and how we choose to use them as motivators for developing tools to improve our resilience and overall well-being.
Mindfulness for Stress Reduction
Mindfulness is defined as a state of active, open attention which is focused on observing what is happening right now, in the present moment, without judging it. Mindfulness helps you stay aware of what is happening now rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.
Mindfulness practices have been around for eons and are used in modern psychotherapy to alleviate anxiety, depression and other mood imbalances. A lot of research has focused on how these ancient and modern mindfulness practices work on the brain and mood states.
When caring for pets with cancer, Mindfulness stress reduction practices may be beneficial in the following ways:
1) Mitigating Anxiety, Depression & Emotional Extremes
2) Developing Resilience
3) Appreciating the Present Moment
4) Improving Physical Well-Being
5) Accepting & Supporting Yourself and Others in Healthy Ways
Help Your Pet by Managing Your Stress
Anyone who loves a pet knows that pets pick up on our emotional states. Science has also shown this in articles like this one. At least in part, this perception of our emotions seems to be through their acute sense of smell, as illustrated by this study. The smell of happiness has also been shown to have it's own chemical signals.
By attending to your own emotional well-being, you will be improving the emotional environment in which your pet lives. By minimizing their stress in this way, you are supporting their well-being. There are many human studies looking at the impact of chronic stress on immune function and healing. We won't get into the details of that here, but will just acknowledge that this is an important consideration if we are looking to support a lifestyle of healing and well-being for ourselves and our pet.
Many books have been published on Mindfulness practices, which can be purchased at any book seller. Many of these books are written for people with no previous meditation experience and are very accessible.
There may also be a local meditation group in your area with which you can participate and meet a community of supportive friends.
You don't need to commit to meditating an hour a day in order to benefit from mindfulness practices. Meditation and Mindfulness practices are a way to create new habits in your mind that support your well-being, happiness and overall effectiveness in life.
There are many simple practices that can be done in 5-15 minutes which will reap tangible benefits in your life.
Metta Pets Mindfulness Webinar
I am hosting a webinar series starting in February 2019.
Metta Pets: Mindfulness for Stress Reduction.
This introductory Three-Part Metta Pets webinar series will focus on practical Mindfulness practices that you can implement daily to decrease stress, support your overall well-being and increase your capacity to experience positive emotional states more often.
As a Metta Pets Webinar, emphasis will be on practices and discussions pertaining to Pet Parents and Veterinarians caring for pets diagnosed with cancer.
While we can't control most of the events we experience in life, we can learn tools to help ourselves navigate those experiences with more ease and grace.
With practice, those new habits become second nature and we soon find that things which used to feel difficult for us may not feel that way any more. We become happier. We become more peaceful.
When we are happier and more peaceful, that positively impacts everything we do. We become more resilient and are not so deeply affected by the stressors of life.
As we are happier and healthier, we are able to offer more to those we care about. We are able to be better pet parents, doctors, caregivers, spouses, siblings, friends and community members.
Giving yourself the tools to find peace amidst the chaos and challenges of life is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. I'd love to help you.
How Do I Sign Up for the Mindfulness for Stress Reduction Webinar?
The Webinar Series will be a Three-Part Series which will take place on the last Saturday of the month –February, March and April of 2019.
If you are unable to attend the live webinar, it will be available for you to view later.
I am offering this webinar series for free
for those who register early.
Registrants will be added to the
Metta Pets mailing list.