Conscious Cat Sunday: put a stop to anxiety

Put a Stop to Anxiety

Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry are caused by too much future,
and not enough presence. – Eckhart Tolle.

I’ve previously shared some simple steps to stop worrying. As with so many other things, my cats have been my greatest teachers when it comes to living in the moment, and when you do that, it’s pretty much impossible to worry. I try to listen to them whenever I find myself sliding back into my old worry habits, but when I find that I can’t break the worry cycle, then I know that there’s something else going on. And usually, that means that worry has escalated into anxiety.

Anxiety is worry’s ugly cousin. While worry happens in the thinking part of your brain, anxiety comes from the limbic system, which is responsible for our emotions. While worry and anxiety are closely related, it’s usually a little easier to short-circuit worry. Worry is  centered around something specific, whereas anxiety is a more generalized feeling of unease.

Both worry and anxiety can have damaging effects on your mental, emotional and physical health. Anxiety in the extreme leads to panic attacks, which, I’m told, feel very much like a heart attack to those experiencing them.

The following tips can help you reduce your anxiety levels before they get out of control:

Breathe. A deep breath can gently shift your energy. On each inhale, remind yourself that you’re inhaling peace. On each exhale, consciously let go of anxiety.

Move your body. Get up and stretch, go for a short walk, or turn on some music and dance around the room. If you’re feeling extremely anxious, do something that gets your heart rate up – it helps to channel all that adrenaline circulating in your system into something positive.

Redirect your mind. Don’t dwell on the problems that made you anxious to begin with. Focus on something else instead. Watch a comedy on television. Read a good book. Play with your cats.

Learn how to relax. Take a long bath. Meditate. Take a nap. Spend time with your cats, your family, and friends.

Gather information. Identify what makes you so anxious, and get the facts. Chances are, you’ve blown the issue out of proportion. Worry and anxiety are not known for being grounded in rational thought.

Look into herbal remedies or supplements. Herbs such as Kava Kava or Valerian can help reduce anxiety.

Pet your cats. Studies have shown that just petting a cat can lower your blood pressure. It’s impossible to stay anxious while watching a sleeping cat.

By learning how to control your anxiety, you’ll not only benefit your own health, you’ll also benefit your cats. Cats and their humans often mirror each others’ physical and emotional states.  Cats are sensitive creatures as well as natural healers, and in my Reiki practice, I’ve sometimes seen them take on their human’s problems, often in an attempt to heal them.  Because of the bond shared between cat and human in a close relationship, energetic imbalances may be shared as well. So if you’re not managing your anxiety levels for your own health, do it for your cats!

Do you often feel anxious? What helps you cope?

Photo Flickr Creative Commons

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10 Comments on Conscious Cat Sunday: put a stop to anxiety

  1. Anna
    March 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm (5 years ago)

    Wonderful post, thank you, Ingrid!

    I get worried or anxious a lot, and my Zoe (or my mom’s cats when I’m at her house) is always a great help in relieving anxiety, along with long walks in the woods and my creative hours!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm (5 years ago)

      Anna, thank you for mentioning creative work. Whenever we’re doing something we love, to the point of losing all track of time, it’s impossible to be anxious or worry.

      Reply
  2. Max the Quilt Cat
    March 18, 2012 at 12:38 pm (5 years ago)

    Great post. What a wonderful list of how to take it all a little easier. Love it.

    pawhugs, Max

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 18, 2012 at 4:30 pm (5 years ago)

      Glad you enjoyed it, Max.

      Reply
  3. RumpyDog!
    March 18, 2012 at 11:32 am (5 years ago)

    Jen has suffered from anxiety. She found help through practicing a spiritual regimen. Know that may not be for everyone, but it has helped her. She chose the path of A Course in Miracles. Not proselytizing, just sharing what worked.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 18, 2012 at 11:51 am (5 years ago)

      I think that’s great advice, Rumpy.

      Reply
  4. sue
    March 18, 2012 at 11:02 am (5 years ago)

    Very interesting your article Ingrid, so very true I have noticed that with Benji he senses
    all my moods they are incredible cats for interpretating our moods. He also knows at the
    moment that I had a lot of pain the last couple of days with my arm in a sling and
    he knows and cuddles up around my neck he never does this when all well. Yes deep
    breathes and change your mind over is a good thing to do and stroke the cat too!!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 18, 2012 at 11:50 am (5 years ago)

      Sounds like your Benji is being a good nurse kitty, Sue! I hope your arm heals quickly!

      Reply
  5. Deborah Julian
    March 18, 2012 at 9:53 am (5 years ago)

    Thanks for this wonderful post Ingrid. When I feel anxious or stressed I take a deep breath and have some fun with my cats. It never fails to make me feel better.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 18, 2012 at 11:50 am (5 years ago)

      I’ve also found having fun with my cats to be the best way to relieve stress or anxiety, Debbie.

      Reply

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