Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Animal Instincts On Reducing Stress



In this fast pace lifestyle, I often find myself overbooked, wound up, feeling catty, and ready to pop like a shaken can of Diet Dr. Pepper. So how do I cope?

Well, I’ve taken to listening to my furred, feathered and finned friends. I’m not talking about the benefits of owning a pet. Although those are great, I’m talking about the examples my pets have taught me. (Hey, they are cheaper than therapy.) Below are some stress-busters and joy-inducers that we at the Craig house try…try to live by.

Doggone Stress

* Speak up: It’s a simple trick, but one canines think humans could practice more often. It appears that we do a lot more rolling over than speaking up.

* Latch your teeth into what you want: When we’re ready to bite someone because our wants and desires are falling by the wayside, our canines advise that we latch onto our goals like a dog with a bone and refuse to give up.

* Demand a walk a day: We all know how seriously our canines take their walks. While a brisk stroll around the block may not offer the same relief to us that it gives to man’s best friend, (at least we hope not) it can work wonders on reducing stress

* Use your nose: Our dogs may prefer the smell of old shoes, but this is still one great piece of canine-derived advice. Aroma therapy isn’t just some new age hocus-pocus, so light a smell-good candle and sniff your way to being happy.

Cheep Therapy

* Eat like a bird. Unlike our feathered friends, study after study has proven that we overeat when stressed. Then if you’re like me, you get stressed because you know that bag of Hershey kisses isn’t going to fit into your Weight Watchers plan.

* Sing. When a situation has us ready to screech, try singing instead. It’s amazing what a course of “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,” even in September, can do for a case of the blues. (Warning, don’t do this is public.)

* Don’t be afraid to ruffle a few feathers: We can’t go around “pecking” on people, but oftentimes we don’t stand up for ourselves because we’re afraid of hurting someone else’s feelings.

* Spread your wings: How long has it been since we’ve tried something completely new? Whether it’s learning to belly dance (No, I haven’t done that yet) or taking a cooking class, widening our fields of interest is a way to chase away those empty feelings.

Purrfectly Calm

*Catnaps: While our feline buddies are always working on their Z’s, studies show that we are getting less sleep. While napping will not make up for sleep deprivation and we might be less catty after a bit of shuteye.

*Sunbathe: Thousands of people suffer from light deprivation commonly called, Seasonal Affective Disorder, especially in the winter months. We’re not talking about working on a tan. I haven’t ever seen a cat with a bikini line, but they do bask in the sun regularly on window sills. A few minutes enjoying a spray of sunshine can brighten our moods.

*The art of avoidance: When the door bell rings and our cat’s sixth sense tells him it’s probably our neighbor’s tail-grabbing kid, he takes a flying leap off whatever furniture he’s not supposed to be resting on and makes a mad dash under the bed. While avoidance isn’t the recommended cure for situations when standing up is a better option, there are times that we could elude stress by avoiding a situation.

*Snuggle up with someone you love: Once a cat has judged us trustworthy, he very well may be one of those felines that demand snuggling time. We shouldn’t push our cats or our significant others away. Welcome them with open arms, encourage them, follow them around and jump into their laps. Snuggling is good for the soul.

Fishing for Peace

*Water therapy: Whenever we feel like we’re drowning in our sorrows, why not try a bath? Put on some low music, add scented oils to your water or light a candle, then sink into the tub and let the soothing begin.

*Stay in schools: Schooling doesn’t even have to take place in an academic building. You can school yourself. The key is to keep learning. As Deepak Chopra, a famous stress-reducing guru and writer says, “We don’t grow old, we get old when we stop growing.”

Okay, so there are my lessons my animal buddies have taught me. What lessons have your animals taught you? Or…do you have some ideas of dealing with stress you’d like to share? Come on, don’t be shy. The contest is still going, ya know!

37 comments:

Faye Hughes said...

Great post, Christie. I've learned a lot from my cat, Lula. Namely, naps are vital to my overall health, daily grooming is so important to my self esteem and nobody likes a messy kitty box.

Faye

Christie Craig said...

Faye...

Too funny. Those are great lessons! And so true. Grooming helps with self esteem and who wants to live with a dirty litter box? :-)

Crime Scene Christie

MsHellion said...

Great post--and I can vouch for the dog walking thing. Dogs do not know how to saunter...they are all business about their walks.

I'm not sure I have any animal insight--but my pony seemed to be most content with a handful of oats, an apple, and a scratch between the ears. Life's best pleasures are usually the most simple--and require very little money. Be more content with what you have and you'll be less stressed.

Christie Craig said...

Mshellion

I'm going to grab an apple right now. And you are right. Simple pleasures are generally the most meaningful. A good book. A romantic evening at home with someone you love. A good laugh shared amongst friends. A cat curling up in your lap. Simple things are the best.

Crime Scene Christie

Sin said...

This was a great post, Christie!

I had a *LOL* moment when I read about singing a chorus of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. When I'm stuck in morning traffic and feeling a bit of road rage coming on (not that I get road rage or anything when someone cuts me off), I have the tendency to sing a Christmas song. Christmas is my favorite time of the year (if you cut out the 5am shopping for that one special thing you think you just HAVE to have but then can't remember who you were supposed to get it for). I love Christmas songs. And singing a Christmas song in the middle of morning traffic will instantly take the stress away. But I also freely admit that I'm a little wacky. lol.

Christie Craig said...

Sin,

I'm with you. Singing Christmas songs makes it hard to be in a pissy mood. And hey, road rage can get you in trouble, but singing Jingle Bells off season is not likely to get you arrested, committed maybe, but not arrested.

Crime Scene Christie

RachaelfromNJ said...

What days are contest winners announced? I forget. Great post by the way!

Lucy said...

I think the lessons my dogs are "teaching" me lately aren't legal for people. They're killing things that are "different" than them...or it could just be that these other "critters" are invading their personal space.

But they do seem to enjoy it. LOL

Great post.

Estella said...

Those are gret lessons, Christie!

Christie Craig said...

Rachel,

I think we need to announce one. But I sent the question to the other gals. I'll let you know.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Lucy,

Well, I think I write about a few of those lessons in my books. :-)

Meanwhile, sit your dogs down and talk to them about loving all creatures. Oh, I'm sure that will work. ;-)

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Estella,

Thanks for posting. Hope you are having a good day.

Crime Scene Christie

Virginia said...

Great post, The only pets we have is a Koi pond in our back yard. I do enjoy going out to the pond and feeding the fish and listening to the water fall. The waterfall is not a large one but has the sound of being on a creek, very calming. I also enjoy just swinging on my porch swing.

Christie Craig said...

Virginia,

I have two ponds and a porch swing. I know all about porch-swing therapy. We never invested in Koi, just gold fish--but they were like six years old and as big as Koi. But I'm afraid we had a Great Blue Heron who mistook our pond for a Sushi Bar.

Love the sitting by the pond.

Crime Scene Christie

Ciara Gold said...

I love the analogy. And the advice couldn't come at a better time. Writing, promoting and keeping a full time job can be quite stressful. And add to the mix a teenage daughter and I know my blood pressure is rising. LOL. Thanks for the fun tips.

Christie Craig said...

Ciara,

Oh, jeepers, we're in the same boat, but I have the teenage son, and yep, some days it feels as if the boat is sinking.

But hey, I wouldn't change a thing. I love doing the promotion, and writing. And some days I love the teenage boy. ;-)

Okay, I always love him. I mean...some days I realize he's showing serious signs of being human.

Thanks for posting.
Crime Scene Christie

Lucy said...

I have had that talk with my dogs, Christie. But it didn't stick.

Christie Craig said...

Lucy,

Hmmm.... I know what you mean. Now my dog is pretty easy going, but the cats. I've told them over and over again that I don't want them killing lizards. Ahh, but they insist, that they are creatures from the dark and must die. The other day, my one escape artist kitty who sneaks outside tried to bring in a snake. To her, it was an inside toy. We had a long talk after that, but I don't she listened either.

Crime Scene Christie

Jana DeLeon said...

I love this list, Christie! I've always thought my pets had the right idea. :)

Stacy S said...

My dog likes to take lots of naps. Now that works for me, if only the hubby & kid would agree.
About your cat trying to bring in a snake reminds me of my son. When he was around 2-3 everything was a worm. He never did bring me a "worm" thank God.

JOYE said...

I walk my dogs to relieve myself of stress and calm down. We both get the exercise we need and I get to visit with some of my neighbors along the way. I think I have learned patience from my dogs.

danetteb said...

Good thoughts to think about .*g*

Christie Craig said...

Jana,

Yep, they can teach us a lot but we humans can such slow learners.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Stacy S

Oh, I remember the worm stage with my son. And hey, get the dog to train the hubby and kid. ;-)

Thanks for posting, girl.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Joye,

My dog, Jake, insist on a walk every afternoon. I walk for exercise in the morning, the afternoon walks with Jake are more of stroll. And you are right, we've met a lot of the neigbors while walking the dog. As for patience, oh yes, the strolls teach me patience. I'm learning the value checking out every mail box.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Danette,

Yep, stress can really bite. It's good to slow down and enjoy life. Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

catslady said...

My cats have taught me to be picky in my eating, to insist on being waited on and to pay attention only if I feel like it :)

Christie Craig said...

CatsLady,

Okay, I like your cats attitudes. How many do you have? I have four. They are all very different.

Crime Scene Christie

Nancy Kay Bowden said...

Hi, Christie! Great post. I'm a day late!

My dog tells me, "When all else fails, sleep." He's 105 in people years on Friday! He's lived a long happy life. Sleep is something we don't always get enough of...

Christie Craig said...

Nancy,

When I'm 105, I think I'll be napping, too.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

catslady said...

Well I just got my 7th cat lol. They're mostly ferals and strays - these are my inside guys - I also have 5 outside (at the moment) that I care for. And yes, every one is very different and unique. I have a little placque that says - Cats are like potato chips...you can't have just one. so true lol.

Nathalie said...

I don't have a pet and I am not an animal person... so I cannot really relate.

Lily said...

Nice post... I don't have a pet but to unstress I usually take a nap... and wake up fresh, and ready for my day!

Christie Craig said...

Nathalie,

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Lily,

Not all of us are animal lovers, but we all know stress. Naps are wonderful.

Crime Scene Christie

Ms Terry in Gadsden said...

Listening to music is my favorite way to unstress, along with talking. So if you dont want to get caught up in a person going on and on and on, dont get me started. I have found talking things out does do wonders though, if you are lucky to find someone who will listen. Funny thing is i have a few friends who make up there mind that they are my one and only sounding board. Recently i had been bothered by a few things and was talking to one of my friends about it. Well a few days later they came by the shop to see me talking to a couple other friends about the same problem that i was dealing with .
My friend i'll call him Randall, said to me , Terry i thought i was your sounding board.? I then let him know that who ever will listen if i can get my frustrations out i will talk away.

Christie Craig said...

Terry,

I think we need several sounding boards. That way we don't wear one out too quickly.

Thanks for posting girl!

Crime Scene Christie