Here's an interesting excerpt about oxytocin from PBS NOVA's Dogs Decoded:
NARRATOR: Professor Uvnäs-Moberg believes oxytocin plays a similar role in the bond between dogs and their owners.
ThunderShirts claim their coats provide an 80% improvement on dogs and cats.
NBC 4 did a review on the product and the results were pretty dramatic:
For cats that "Freeze and Flop" after you strap them into the coat, give them time to realize that they can do everything in the shirt that they did before. And of course associate the coat with good things. A treat maybe. But before you invest in an expensive cat coat, make sure that your cat tolerates a cheap, but snug shirt. No sense in buying something you just have to return.
The Chopra Center has an in-depth article on the many and varied benefits of even short meditation, one of which is an oxytocin boost. Wow.
I often don't notice that I'm stressed until it dawns on me that my stomach muscles have been tense for a long time. And while I'm not "panting," I am taking shallow breathes thanks to my tense stomach muscles. To my mind, this means that my stress is causing my shallow breathing, which in turn is starving my body of oxygen it should be getting. Less oxygen means that my brain is not getting all the resources it needs and that in turn would cause more stress as I struggle to get things done on fewer resources. Like many people, I am pro-active about getting exercise and putting the right foods and the right vitamins in my body, but I have never given anything thought to putting the right amount of oxygen in my body. And now that I think about it, this makes perfect sense: more is better. More calm, more oxygen, more oxytocin, more resources, more energy equals the power to do more things.
Sure I could probably make my own Thundershirts, but meditation has so many benefits that I would be a fool not to give it a try.
But meditation is hard...or so I thought so.
I couldn't get into meditation in the past until I attended Cedar Sinai Hospital's A Journey to Wellness seminar for cancer patients. I went through breast cancer last year, so this seminar was free for me.
After listening to the clinicians give their best advice on how to remain healthy, they wrapped it up by bringing in Emilia Jimenez, who led us on a 12 minute meditation. Emilia played a crystal singing bowl using a striker or padded mallet. I'm not sure which. The sound was incredibly soothing for me, and for once I meditated. The sound just does something to my brain. Emilia told us that "it's okay to move during meditation. Don't feel you have to sit still." Well that truly changed everything! I had always thought I had to be completely still and sure enough, I would get an itch somewhere or I would feel stiff. Allowing my body to move and stretch allowed me to focus purely on my breath.
Once back home, I immediately searched online for singing bowl music. I wanted to recreate the experience and make meditation a daily part of my life. To my delight, I found Brian Green's Tibetan Singing Bowls music on YouTube, which I found to be far less jarring than other singing bowl music I found online. His video below is actually 10 hours long. You might not want to use all your bandwidth streaming this. Well, I didn't, so I found his website and bought his music through BandCamp here: http://seeyouinsleep.bandcamp.com. Brian offers his music as "name your price," which happens to fit my budget perfectly. I'm sure it will fit yours too. : D
And in case you're wondering, I bought his: http://seeyouinsleep.bandcamp.com/album/tibetan-singing-bowl-meditation and
I sometimes just let his music play in the background, while I work on my computer.
I hope you and your pets find a happy anxiety-reducing treatment to take the stress out of your day. Who knows? Maybe you'll succeed in teaching your pet to meditate. ;D Until then, try petting, hugging, massaging to ease your pet's fears and anxiety. If that fails to do the trick, try a ThunderShirt or something like it before you turn to your Veterinarian for anti-anxiety medication. Now it's your turn to de-stress. Listen to the Singing Bowls and meditate. Take slow deep breathes and relax. I think you'll be amazed at how you feel. : D Let me know your results!
Meditation makes you more creative
Certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. This is the outcome of a study by cognitive psychologists.