Tag Archives: Mental Health

Pet Owners Stress Less

Pet Owners Stress Less

There’s been a long debate between cat and dog owners over which pet is best, but regardless of your choice of furry friend, studies have shown that have a pet can help to reduce stress levels and live a happier life.  Below are a few facts about the emotional benefits of having a feline friend or canine companion!

Emotional & Physical Benefits

Depression

Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.

Blood Pressure

People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets.

Relaxation

Playing with a pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.

Heart Disease

Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets.

Longevity

Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.

Doctor Visits

Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.

Other Benefits

While people with dogs often experience the greatest health benefits, a pet doesn’t necessarily have to be a dog or a cat. Even watching fish in an aquarium can help reduce muscle tension and lower pulse rate.

The Importance of Companionship

One of the reasons for these therapeutic effects is that most pets fulfill the basic human need to touch. Even hardened criminals in prison have shown long-term changes in their behavior after interacting with pets, many of them experiencing mutual affection for the first time. Stroking, holding, cuddling, or otherwise touching a loving animal can rapidly calm and soothe us when we’re stressed. The companionship of a pet can also ease loneliness, and some pets are a great stimulus for healthy exercise, which can substantially boost mood.

Eating right-for-your-type and exercising according to your blood type are key to a healthy and happy mind and body, but diet and exercise can only go so far. Chronic loneliness is a real issue in the world today with serious health repercussions. In a world of constant internet connection, real physical connection can make all the difference. A furry (or not so furry) friend can help keep you the healthiest, and happiest, version of you.

Chi Breathing

Chi Breathing

What is Chi Breathing?

Chi breathing is based upon the Taoist concept of Chi Gong, or Qigong, which represents energy as flowing according to certain routes in your body. Positive release is accessible through refining the breath. The calming, stress-relieving effects of this exercise are remarkable. It can be performed by anyone, regardless of age, fitness, or medical condition.

How to Chi Breathe

1. Stand comfortably, feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, arms at your side. If you cannot stand comfortably for a span of ten minutes, find a comfortable position sitting. Chi breathing is about calming and centering oneself. Relax your neck and shoulder muscles and focus in on your solar plexus (the center of your body). It is ok to sway a bit – that’s normal.

2. Start to rock back and forth gently. Inhale as you rock forward onto the balls of your feet and exhale as you rock back onto your heels.

3. As you inhale, lift your relaxed arms up and forward, keeping them relaxed and slightly bent. As you exhale, let your arms float down. Imagine that your hands are pulsing around an imaginary ball of energy.

4. Repeat, gradually refining the rhythm and developing the ability to “drop” your breath from the lungs to the solar plexus.

5. Repeat four to five times, then relax, letting your hands drop to your sides and closing your eyes. Concentrate on feeling relaxed and centered.

Repeat daily or almost daily to achieve the beneficial long lasting effects of Chi Breathing.

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Want some more guidance?

If you feel more comfortable starting out with a guided breathing meditation, there are many free videos online, like this one, which is just audio, or this one, which also includes video of the movements.