Stress Relief with Feet
One of the benefits of joining our Eyes-Free-Fitness List is gaining from the wisdom of others. One of our members, Mary Ward, shared her thoughts on the benefits of living with animals. At present, I do not have a dog in my life, and feel that absence keenly. However, as I read Mary's post, I did not experience that emotion, but a sense of peace. If you do have animals in your life, I hope you will appreciate her words. If you do not have a feathered or furry creature, be open to the possibility of spending time with animals at a shelter or the homes of friends.
Here are Mary's thoughts on this often overlooked key to good health:
I wanted to bring up a stress reliever that has been helpful to me. That is living with an animal. I know that many users have dog guides, and I had one in the past. But my husband and I have also done some work as foster family for a Labrador retriever rescue group. We had a dog who was named Lula for a few weeks. She was a lovely dog, big for a female lab, very low key and gentle. No jumping on you, no silliness. She was a reserved dog, and I was not sure I would warm up to her, but in just a few days, I was praising her to anyone who would listen for her reserved but gentle spirit. She found a good home last week. It was sad to see her go, and I cried some, but I was also glad that we could do this small service for her. It beat the other way of losing a dog hands down. Having Lula also helped me recover from the grief of losing our last dog, who died of cancer of the mouth in the fall.
Living with an animal can help relieve stress. Animals love unconditionally, and they always seem to forgive your infractions, like the times you were not fair to them or over-punished them for a small misdeed. Brushing a dog is a soothing activity, at least it was with Lula, who always stayed still for the whole thing and waited for me to tell her how pretty she looked.
I read a couple weeks ago that people who have dogs often have lower blood pressure than those without them, and the same could be true of cat lovers. It is so wonderful to just sit with a cat and purr together, forgetting world affairs, problems at work, the tv, the phone, and social media. Animals can also help people with cognitive problems in their socialization, whether they be kids with disabilities, seniors with dementia, or just stressed out, overworked people.
I hope everyone here on this list who loves animals has one in their life, at least a part-time one to visit. Loving and caring for an animal can help with stress and sense of well-being.
Perhaps the same is true of those who care for plants.