The age-old adage, “Dog is man’s best friend,” has found new meaning as a study in Learning & Behavior reveals that dogs appear to sense human distress and respond quickly to it. The study tested dogs’ response to their owners either crying and calling help or humming and calling for help. The dogs whose owners were crying responded faster than those who were humming. These dogs also exhibited less stress. The theory behind the lower stress is that they were able to help their masters and could put aside their stress. What the study proved is that the dogs could tell the difference between a distressed cry and one that was without distress.
The United States Dog Registry recognizes that dogs are sensitive to their owners’ mental and emotional needs. For those who suffer from depression and anxiety or other emotional or mental problems, emotional support dogs are available. Their sole purpose is to provide comfort and emotional support to their owners. If having a dog is not an option for you, though, here are 6+ ways you can help comfort yourself during times of emotional distress.
1. Leave the past in the past. Psychology Today reminds people that the past cannot be undone. Resolve to learn from the mistakes of the past, but leave the past where it is, in the past. Crying over spilled milk won’t put the milk back in the glass or undo the damage. It just makes you feel worse. Clean up the mess, purpose not to spill it again and move on.
2. Take a shower. According to PsychCentral, taking a warm shower is soothing to the soul. It helps wash away feelings of guilt, removes the sense of inner conflict and allows individuals to feel less influenced by their circumstances.
3. Give yourself time. Be patient with yourself. WebMD reminds you that dealing with grief, anxiety or emotional turmoil takes time. Some people take longer than others. Don’t put yourself on a schedule, you’ll just get even more stressed out.
4. Control your thoughts. Choose what you think on. Psychology Today points out that spending time thinking demeaning thoughts will just keep you in a losing position. Learn to quickly identify and banish wrong thoughts and replace them with right thoughts. Choose to change your mind.
5. Listen to soothing music. Sometimes, before changing the mind can happen, calming the emotions must be done first. For this, PsychCentralrecommends putting on some soothing music and combining it with deep breathing. Not only will this calm the emotions, it can lower your blood pressure and help you reign in your thoughts.
6. Journal. According to WebMD, you may find that you can work through your emotions and organize your thoughts by keeping a journal. Journals are safe places to express what is going on inside and process your emotions.
7. Take charge. Psychology Today reminds you that you cannot control everything in life. The things that are creating a lot of your emotional distress may be beyond your control; but if you take charge of the areas you can control, some of the distress will lessen.
8. Reach out to others. Humans are not islands. PsychCentral reminds you to reach out to someone you trust and share your struggle with that person. Let the individual be your rock and solace. Some day, you may get to return the favor.
9. Cry. Sometimes, crying is the best answer. WebMD reminds you that bottling up the emotions for forever isn’t the solution. Sometimes a good cry is what will help, and crying is okay.
Living means you will face times of emotional distress, figuring out how to live well through those times is what’s important.
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