The Science—Kitty & Puppy Pictures May Help.

Here, have some kitty pictures. It may sound like a mere distraction, but a new study published in Psychological Science found that people who were shown photos of puppies and bunnies next to a photo of their partner developed more positive associations with that partner than control groups. The study was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, in part to help families dealing with long separations during deployment.”I was asked to conceptualize and test a brief way to help married couples cope with the stress of separation and deployment,” study leader James K. McNulty says in a press release. “We would really like to develop a procedure that could help soldiers and other people in situations that are challenging for relationships.”

Read more at National Geographic >>>

Co-authors on the research include Michael A. Olson of the University of Tennessee, Rachael E. Jones of the University of Minnesota, and Laura M. Acosta of Florida State University. The work was funded by Department of Defense Grant No. W81XWH-10-2-0181 to J. K. McNulty and M. Olson.
More at psychological Science >>> 

The Practice—4 Ways Pets Relieve Depression

Responsibility

Taking care of your pet might seem difficult and some individuals may argue that there is no point in burdening yourself with more responsibility. However, experts claim that adding a little bit of responsibility might just help. Taking care of a pet creates a sense of purpose in one’s life.  Patients suffering from debilitating diseases are happy to take on the role of a pet owner and are pleased that they are able to make a positive impact on somebody’s life – may it be a four-legged friend. Elderly patients can also benefit from pets as the experience gives them a sense of their own importance and value. Taking ownership of a task such as adopting a pet boosts self-esteem and increases self-worth.


A Different perspective

Spending time with a pet can give you brand new perspective on life. Dog owners are especially aware of the benefits of adopting a puppy for relieving tension and depression. Pets love their owners unconditionally and are always happy to see them after a long day of work. Coming home to an eager pet can help you look at the world in a positive light – reducing the risk of depression.


Enhance Health

Research has found that owning a pet can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and boost levels of feel-good chemicals in your brain.  Individuals agree that there is something naturally soothing about cuddling a cat or petting a dog. Spending time with your pet releases a chemical known as endorphin. This results in a calming effect that helps lower stress levels. This especially benefits people suffering from depression and anxiety. Additionally, taking your little buddy out for walks and petting your furry friend offers anti-stress benefits by promoting the release of a hormone called oxytocin.


Experience Unconditional Love & Acceptance

Pet owners can spend time with their beloved pets without worrying about being judged. Pets offer love and support, which prevents people from feeling lonely and isolated. Sometimes even a pet’s calming presence and work wonders on the mind. Studies have shown that pet owners have significantly lower heart rate and blood pressure while performing stressful tasks and are less likely to feel anxious. Additionally, owning a pet promotes involves physical interaction as well, which is effective for reducing depression and stress. Hugging your pet causes the body to release oxytocin, a hormone that is popularly known for reducing blood pressure and heart rate.


On a personal note, this is Miko

Miko my friend, may you Rest in Peace forever. Dr. Michael Glock
Miko my friend, may you Rest in Peace forever. Dr. Michael Glock

Miko was my friend and cat for over 14 years. He would sit on the papers I was writing for my Ph.D. He embodied unconditional love, we cared for each other deeply. He died the same morning my wife had a brain embolism. I experienced two losses that day as my wife will never be the same again. Yet, it is through loss, mourning and melancholia that a person is reborn. This is the work I can help you with. Understand that  that it is important to be engulfed in flames and rise again to experience the fullness of what this journey on earth offers. I was sent this poem on Miko’s death.

Day of a Cat’s Death 

by Dennis Saleh

 

The occultation
of the sun
by the heart
is observed

The sky
looks away

and occludes
with clouds

The trees
are hung

with lamps
of ash

Do not talk
to the wind

which is paying
its respect

Do not talk
to the night

with its dark
bowed head

Bast is joyous

The goddess
holds another
in her arms

She is licking
the death
from its eyes
and whiskers
as though
it is

more precious
than a newborn

Her breath
of milk bathes

and anoints
the appointed one

There is nothing
kinder
than death
she purrs

The eye and lash
of the goddess
make a nine
laying down

The stars hush
and make room

A paw print
presses
into the wall
of time

The moon
comes late
lonelier
than ever
to say one word

Saleh

From Psychological Perspectives, Issue 2, 2001, pp. 127-28.

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