Spend Some Time with your pet to reduce stress

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Have you got one relationship whose each interaction is non-judgemental and positive, where when you’re coping with your thoughts you may engage with this individual and be more calm, optimistic and clear?

Having a trusted individual who takes on this role for you is a gift. Those people who are lucky to have a relationship such as this know firsthand its advantages on our psychological health. But if you’re trying hard to find this 1 person in your life, one choice is a pet.

Has been found to positively affect an individual’s mental health by making positive emotions, decreasing feelings of isolation, and encouraging communication.

Being the proud owner of 2 Valley Bulldogs, Sophia and Dozer, whom I love dearly and love spending as much time as I can with, I have noticed over the years the way they help me process ideas I am struggling with. This microskill introduces a concept I refer to as pet talk.

Pet talk is, basically, a mindfulness action facilitated by a trustworthy pet. The pet can be yours, a friend’s or in the care of an animal shelter or rescue center, like the SPCA. The only requirement for this to work is for both you and the animal to feel secure. Pet talk can be done walking, sitting, holding or patting. As long as both you and the pet are relaxed and comfortable, this procedure can be done with intention.


To start pet conversation requires some preparation. Take note that you have some thinking that you need to process (for instance, a problem you will need to address or a decision you will need to create) and then decide which you wish to focus on this with your pet in a quiet location where the two of you are calm. A pet eases creating a relaxing environment that is non-judgemental, patient and attentive to your every word and thought.


Only you can make the nation and intentions to participate in pet talk. You want to suspend your decision and trust the process in order for it to work. The purpose is to bring your attention to the today and make a commitment to take care of your thoughts that you think require attention and some action. There is no pass or fail when it comes to pet discussion; it is a process that promotes creativity and calm. The end objective is to move past ideas that you might be struggling with so you may choose to act. The decision might be a resolution to get another opinion or to seek outside service.


1 advantage of pet talk is encouraged by mindfulness and metacognition (our inner thoughts and beliefs). Shows that having the ability to focus on our thoughts without judgement and allow ourselves to be receptive to these ideas and feelings can help eliminate anxieties concerning the situation we are processing to the point that we are able to perceive it in another way. This could help reframe it and create new clarity and a path to a healthy resolution.

Pet talk in actions:

1. Preparation — Get to a safe place with your pet and start by engaging them and enjoying the interaction. Pets’ interactions can help us immediately unwind our psychological condition so we can get our heads turned off and bring us into the present moment. Take five minutes to just enjoy being with your pet and unwind. I discover that I relax and breathe slowly when I am sitting and patting one of my pets.

2. Hunt permission — A pure two-way relationship never takes one another for granted. When I am sitting with Dozer or Sophia and wish to move our time to pet talk, I start by asking if they would be fine to help me out. I typically get a wagging tail and a couple of licks. I then internally or externally request consent to discuss a couple of things I’d like their aid processing. I have never gotten a no; they are always ready to work with me.

3. Focus on busy thought — Require the ideas you are looking to procedure and notice the feelings attached to them. If any of your ideas is negative or judgemental about others or yourself, ask yourself why you are feeling this way and how it’s helping. Ask yourself if you think your pet disagrees with your own thoughts. The purpose is to change your thinking from negative to positive or neutral so that you can be objective.

4. Consider your pet’s wisdom — My pets never concur with my negative thinking about myself or others, or that I am not capable of solving my problems or making good decisions. Imagine what intellect your pet would indicate to assist you reframe your ideas and think of a solution. What questions do they ask you; what advice would they give; what would they want you to feel and think at the end of your conversation?

Pet talk typically takes me 20 to 30 minutes. I find that slowing down, after the above procedure and answering the questions through my pet’s belief system helps me alleviate creativity without judgement to acquire new perspectives.

Most pet owners understand the ability of human-pet relationships. They are special and can be a terrific source of support to our psychological well-being.

Bill Howatt is the chief research and development officer of workforce productivity with Morneau Shepell in Toronto and founder of an Internet course offered through the University of New Brunswick.

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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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