Your Dog May be the Best Therapist

If you suffer from panic disorder, a trained dog, cat, or horse may provide the therapy you need.

Anxiety Abound

“Service” dogs have been widely used to help people with all types of disabilities. These days, helpful creatures participate with us in Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT). These dogs, cats, and horses, are not merely pets. They are animals trained to provide support to a human in need. Your therapeutic pooch can even help you manage a panic attack.

Animal-Assisted Therapy

Panic disorder is often treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. A panic attack is a sudden overwhelming surge of anxiety. Symptoms can include: hyperventilation, chest pain, trembling, choking feeling, nausea, sweating, and a sense of being completely out of control. Panic disorder would encompass repeat episodes of attacks as well as a perpetual fear of having another attack.

“Talk” therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy may help you discover the key triggers for your attacks. Observing thinking patterns will be necessary. You’ll want to explore negative thoughts, their origins, and how you can replace them with positivity. To do that, you’ll need to feel somewhat secure and safe. Some people are unable to manage to get that far. This is precisely where AAT might benefit.

A therapeutic animal can aid with stress-reduction. Research has shown that pets can help lower blood pressure and relieve anxiety. Using animals can assist a person in feeling more trusting in a therapeutic environment. AAT may hasten and enhance the treatment process.

A specialist who uses AAT for mental health services such as panic disorder and agoraphobia must be a qualified mental-health services provider.

Special Training

Besides providing emotional therapy, there are service animals that also provide “physical” emotional support. Some dogs are trained to provide deep pressure therapy to their owner during a panic attack. The pressure of the weight of a medium sized dog against the sufferer’s abdomen and chest has been reported to have a significant calming effect.

If claustrophobia triggers your panic attacks, a dog can be trained to keep others from entering your personal space. He will repeatedly circle you, keeping other people at a preferred distance. And if you’re in the middle of an attack, your dog can be trained to lick your face, distract you, and reframe and re-orient your reality.

It’s Curable

Depending on the type of remedial work you’re putting in and if medication is assisting, will determine your progress. If you are a panic attack sufferer, that does not mean you will always suffer. A process is entailed, but through therapy, mindfulness, meditation, and possibly a therapeutic animal, you will be able to lead a less-worrisome life.

For more articles on mental health, family, and best living check out www.GetThrive.com

 

Why You Must De-Stress Now (And How)

Is there anyone who enjoys feeling stressed out? Maybe we feel that way so frequently that we associate stress with our commonplace state. It doesn’t have to be that way, nor should it. In fact, if you plan on being healthy and living a long life, your only hope is to start de-stressing now.

Whole Lotta Stressin’ Going On

Yes, many of us are burning the candle at both ends. We’re trying to make a living, build a career, take care of our family, our health, our community, and the list goes on. Then there are those of us who aren’t necessarily active but stressed out by thoughts of the things we aren’t doing.

Then, of course, there are life circumstances that fall into our laps and we haven’t the coping skills to keep from freaking out. Short stints of stress are part of life. If we combat them and are able to move on, it may not wreak too much havoc. But when we live with chronic, long-term stress, the effects on our body and mind can be devastating.

Whichever your scenario, just be aware that stress can and will impact every cell in your body if it reigns freely. If you experience any of the following conditions, it’s a sign that you’re still in need of stress management. (There are other causes, too, for such symptoms and ailments, but stress also played a hand in their development.)

  • Fatigue – tired, listless, unmotivated
  • Inattention – focus wanes, lack of concentrationh
  • Headaches – blurred vision, dizziness
  • Changes in skin – loss of tone and/or moisture
  • Decreased immunity – catch colds and viruses easily
  • Changes in gut microbiome – digestive issues, leaky gut
  • Increased blood sugar- narrowing of arteries, higher blood glucose
  • Increased cortisol – hormonal imbalance, thyroid imbalance
  • Weakened muscles – protein breakdown
  • High blood pressure – hypertension
  • Inflammation
  • Auto immune disease – IBD, Crohn’s, MS, colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, Hashimoto’s, and others

Although autoimmune disorders can be set into motion from varying factors, studies show stress is linked as a trigger. Up to 80% of those diagnosed with an AI disease reported extreme emotional stress before its onset. Furthermore, the disease itself also causes stress, which creates a vicious cycle.

How to Manage the Stress

Everything you’ve read up until now about stress management still remains true. There are several paths of action to help yourself and you probably already know what they are. It’s all in the implementation. Knowing and doing are not equally effective in this case. You must be proactive and treat yourself kindly.

  • Try to rid yourself of the source of stress. If you can, then it’s actually a simple fix. Sometimes, however, this is just not possible. So, if the stressor remains in your life, your next course is to learn how to manage
  • Seek counseling. A specialist can offer coping tools.
  • Talk to a therapist. Talk therapy and cognitive behavior therapy can help you find ways to reframe your thoughts. The way you perceive things in your life may be a cause of undue stress or anxiety.
  • Exercise and get outdoors. Walking in nature calms the soul and lowers blood pressure. Exercise helps release hormones and chemicals that relieve stress in the body.
  • Practice yoga. Yoga distracts the mind from ruminating and improves your mood. It strengthens the brain’s neuroplasticity, increases flexibility, and boosts your immune system.
  • Meditate. Sit quietly and imagine yourself in calm, beautiful surroundings. Don’t think about any responsibilities. Unplug your phone and electronics and give yourself the time you deserve.
  • Get a lot of rest. Eight hours per night is recommended to keep your mind and mood in tip-top shape. You need that strength from sleep in order to reduce stress.

Today is a good day to start de-stressing. For other helpful articles on health management, click here.

Sources:

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ljudmila_Stojanovich/publication/40025080_Stress_and_autoimmunity/links/53ede6ec0cf23733e80b1554.pdf

https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/december-2014/how-stress-affects-cancer-risk.html.html