Tips To Growing Mindfulness With Your Cat
We crave happiness and do our best to organize life around this feeling. We want to feel comfortable, balanced, safe, and satisfied. We concentrate on mindfulness, share new year’s resolutions, and hope to become happier once we solve this or that problem.
But here’s the catch: Problems never stop. New ones come after previous go, and we start doubting if it’s possible to get it all together and (finally!) turn into a happy person. Happiness becomes a problem itself and, let’s face it, we are bad at imagining what will make us happy. So why not change the approach to happiness? Why not concentrate on a few effects of human psychology, influencing our mood and well-being? Instead of chasing elusive happiness, we better focus on moments that chase us every day.
It may appear that we don’t need any courses to master mindfulness. But if you have a cat, it’s she who can become your teacher!
SEE ALSO: The 7 Benefits Of Quiet Solitude
Just observe your cat’s habits
Chances are that you have read the story of Jess Chua, telling about the life lessons she learned from her cat Breadloaf. Most are about motivation, relaxation, and flexibility. My friend and future veterinarian Kimberly K. Baumgart went further and advised me to share the scientific benefits of being a cat owner: her cats Rambo and Smokey are official contributors of health and happiness to Kim’s environment.
That’s how she grows mindfulness (let’s call it “cat-mindfulness”) with her lovely felines.
Have you ever seen your cat doing a few things at once? Whatever she does – eating, observing birds outside, grooming, or playing with the string you give – she concentrates on one thing. And now, be honest: while providing the string to your cat, don’t you look at the phone, watch TV, or think of what you need to do at work at the same time?
We know that multitasking hurts our mental health, but we continue practicing it anyway. It’s a waste of breath. What multitasking gives us is memory problems, chronic stress, reduced productivity, depression, and social anxiety. So, follow the lead of your four-legged friend: Focus on one thing at a time, and grab the moment.
We know the power of mindful breathing for health and well-being. Watch your cat: I bet she makes deep inhales and exhales at least a few times a day. (Mine does!) Deep breathing, when you feel the air entering your body and focus on the art of breathing itself, it’s a great way to build resilience to stress and anger. Mindful breathing helps the air reach the parts of our brain responsible for memories and emotions. Practice it regularly, and you’ll soothe the nervous system by far.
Being present in the moment
Ever thought why your cat loves sitting at the window quietly, relaxed, and staring into space? She’s present in the moment, listening to the sounds of the environment. She is focused on here and how. Isn’t that one of the best practices to grow mindfulness? Enjoy the moment! While some people consider it a waste of time, it’s a great mindfulness practice that helps to take a mental break. According to psychologist Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, such pauses in work allow us to “reload” energy for better mood and productivity.
Close your eyes
Cats often sit relaxed and with eyes closed, even if they aren’t going to sleep. And how often do you practice this kind of meditation? Close your eyes for a few minutes. Experts claim it helps to block distractions and boost memory recall. Also, it’s an excellent practice to heighten concentration or relax while listening to surrounding sounds.
Let’s face it that we can be rude to our cats sometimes. We shout at them when they make some mess in a house, we forget to feed them, or we “forget” to play with them. But they forgive us, no matter what. Your cat comes to you anyway, purring and demonstrating her love to you, her human.
Forgiveness is not easy to practice. The human nature stands up against it, considering it a sign of defeat or devaluation of one’s self. Indeed, it’s not easy to let it go when someone has hurt you. And yet, forgiveness is your relief from stress; it’s a way to reverse the damaging effect of negative feelings on our health; it’s one step closer to pure mindfulness and happy life.
And the last but not the least
Don’t be afraid or shy about showing your happiness. Look at your cat: She’s meowing and purring joyfully when she sees you giving her food or just petting her to reduce stress and anxiety. Why not follow her lead? When you feel happy, take this moment and experience it, breathe it, and live it! BE mindful of this moment.
Notice the beauty of the world and appreciate what you have and who you are. Do you know the difference between lucky guys and losers? The power of observation! So, observe, reflect, and take delight in small mercies. Learn from your cat! She will make you not only happier but luckier as well.
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