For years now I’ve challenged myself to consider carefully how I think and act. I believe strongly that my internal state of mind and my external way of being directly affect how my life plays out in big ways and in small. My health and overall well-being, as well my animal companion’s well-being, are directly linked to my state of mind. Still, it can be a challenge to maintain a positive outlook, especially in today’s difficult times.
Most of us are looking for a reprieve, a way to feel good about *something* at the end of the day. Enter stage left our beloved animal companions. If we let them, they can elevate a mood in no time flat! Animals are loyal, loving, intelligent creatures who generally aim to please. No matter our preferred species – cats, rats, guinea pigs, dogs, horses, or others – they are in our lives for companionship and mutual nurturing.
In the midst of all the world’s chaos and the many stresses in our lives, we can help ourselves and our animals by promoting balance and peacefulness in our home environment. Our animals are little sponges, soaking up the energies we exude. If we enter our home or horse stable feeling anxious, frustrated, or confused, our pets pick up on these emotions and ways of being. They also pick up on our joy, peacefulness, and grounded way of being. If you can wash away the stresses of your day before you walk in the door that evening, you very likely will notice a calmer, more attentive pet greeting you.
Our overall well-being and outlook on life is powerful, for us as well as our animals. Too frequently I work with animals who have literally taken on some of the energies of their human as their own. When I communicate with an animal exhibiting anxiety, stress, or worry I often uncover some linkage to the human(s) in the family. Don’t get me wrong – some animals are worriers on their own accord, or are naturally anxious creatures. Others, however, are deeply connected with their human and are determined to help their human regain balance – even if that means trying to pull the stress or worry from their human and bear it themselves. As valiant as this theory is, it simply doesn’t work, and sometimes can lead to real physical distress.
Yes, the world and our lives are busy and stressful, these days especially. It’s easy to feel out of control and overwhelmed. As we flow through our lives we naturally have good days and challenging days. Don’t deny that fact for the sake of your animals; rather acknowledge when you are feeling stress, grief, worry, or sadness. Empower yourself to take control of the worry or stress and keep it in context. Explain to your pet that you’ve had a challenging day and you love that they are there to make you feel better, but it is important they let you deal with the human worries. Our animals can be a bright spot in our day, and we should let them be exactly that!
Next time you notice your animals acting out or exhibiting anxious behaviors, stop a moment and check-in with yourself. Are YOU acting out and exhibiting anxious behaviors? For the sake of our animals, and for our own health and well-being, set aside your worries at the door. It may not seem like much, but one stress-free, calm, joyous evening with your animals may change your whole outlook on life!
For tips on other ways to promote a balanced and joyful environment with your pets, see previous Articulate Animals blog post “Positive Thinking = Positive Behaviors”