A very heart-touching guest post
Yesterday I used as a sub-heading “I will never, ever tire of the wonderful connections made by this blog!”
I wrote that before Sydney sent in a guest post which reached out to me, to Jeannie and, undoubtedly, will reach out to many others. Sydney further validated the power of the wonderful connections that blogging brings.
Here’s how it came about.
Not that long ago, there was a new follower to this place. As is so frequently the case that new follower was also a blogger. Their blog is called very beautifully: Recovery For All Of My Heart. As I always try to do, I went across to leave a ‘thank you’ note. I also read the About page that I want to republish here by way of my introduction to Sydney.
Hello, I am in recovery from an eating disorder, depression and anxiety. The way I got to the best place in my mind is by changing my perspective.
In this blog, I use my new open-mindedness to show the world the beauty I see in hopes that others will then see the beauty in themselves. For me, all it took was to see the beauty in myself, but I needed someone to help me see it first. My hope is to be that person for others.
There is a way to see the good in every piece of you. You can get your mindset to see what others love about you. The proof of everyone’s beauty lies in changing your perspective and this blog hopes to put into light the beauty in everyone that ever existed.
So now to Sydney’s post. (And if you want to understand why I chose the title to this post, then please read right down to the end.)
Mindfulness and a dog named Bailey
By Sydney R. February 23rd., 2017
When I was 21 years old, I got a hound boxer puppy named Bailey. Previously, I had a dog my mom and I raised when I was seven; she was named Rachel.
I only speak of Bailey in this post because of a certain situation I want to talk about, but I also wanted to mention how amazing Rachel was too.
Anyway, I raised Bailey to be the sweet almost two-year-old he is today. He is not a normal dog to me. This is because I believe him to be extraordinary (so original for dog owners, I know), and also because I have struggled with my mental health.
I have struggled with depression and he has changed my life for the better. One day last year I was having a very hard time with my depression. I wanted to just lay in bed and quit my job and begin isolating again. I wanted to just sleep and not fight the thoughts and just let them rattle on inside of my mind while I lay there.
I grabbed my dog as he was lying next to me and held onto him ready to remain in my negative thoughts for all eternity. Then something changed: I felt his fur. I felt my cheek against his fur. I heard his sweet little breathing that used to put me to sleep when he laid on my chest when he was a puppy. I was being mindful without even realizing it.
I was aware of everything I was feeling when holding this thing that is so dear to my heart.
Suddenly, all the pain went away. I was reminded of this feeling I can have while holding my dog. I can fight this depression and I can have a wonderful life. If you ever are feeling extremely sad or have any type of negative urges, and this can be about anything, grab your furry little one and just stay in the moment until they pass.
And why is this?
Research has shown that if you look into your dogs eyes, the hormonal response is activated just like the one that is activated when you look at infants. Scientists took blood samples of dogs and their owners before and during time spent petting. The results were that the levels of oxytocin went up in humans during a petting session of a dog and it was at very similar levels of new mothers and their infants.
Even more amazing, dogs had the same levels in their blood as well, showing how happy they are around their owners. During my depression that night, holding onto my dog was not just helping me overcome my sadness, he was having a nice time as well.
Now what I am guessing is that if you are sitting down, petting your dog, but not really paying much attention, your dog will be happy, but your oxytocin levels will not be as high as they could be. When you are mindful and staying in the moment whilst petting your dog, you could be seriously happy, to the point where your oxytocin levels from your dog stops you from ruminating on your negative thoughts.
Don’t just pet your dog when you are upset…make sure you are completely in the moment.
Notice your body and notice what your hands and arms are feeling as you wrap your arms around your dog. Let your hands and all of your arms feel the fur. Use all of your senses. Make sure you hear your dog and do not let your thoughts block out being in the moment. Regular petting of the dog is enjoyable. Mindful petting of a dog could change your life, like it did mine.
Now I will always know that I have something to go to when I feel depressed. This is extremely important because one huge part of depression is hopelessness. This is the feeling that you will always feel depressed.
With a dog, you have hope to get out of those feelings. I know that I have my dog to go to and I will never fear being sad forever again. I always have the mindful petting of Bailey or Rachel that will make the negative thoughts drain away.
Good people, I am genuinely humbled by both Sydney’s desire to share this with you, and by the magic of having a dog in our life.
So let me close like this.
Detective drama series set on a Caribbean island.
In a recent episode there was this profoundly wise observation made by the detective, Jack Mooney, played by Ardal O’Hanlon.
There are always two wolves deep inside us.
One is a hateful, angry, selfish wolf that doesn’t hesitate to try and do you harm.
The other wolf is a soft, gentle creature that responds to love and always wants to love you back.
So which wolf is in charge?
The wolf we feed!
This came to my ‘inbox’ a short time ago (as of 09:30 Sunday morning):