Many years ago, when I started my first teaching and I was completely introverted, unconfident and in fight or flight, I got a kitten.
As soon as I held her in my arms at the shelter, I felt a wave of heat flow through me. I didn’t know it was love, it just was more like a light bulb turned on.
I wasn’t sure I could take care of the cat. I had such a fear of responsibilities. No one in my family had had a cat before.
Learning to Love and Play
We bonded right away. I taught her not to hop into the refrigerator, and played many games till settling on “string,” her favorite. Experimented with food she liked to eat, and tried to protect her from too much cold or heat or predators in neighbor dogs.
Reasons a Pet Helps Cure Anxiety
- She made me stop thinking so much about my own anxiety.
- She showed me how to have fun, to play, taught me cat language, and welcomed me when I got home.
- She needed me, and I mattered most to her in the world. I learned how to give love from this cat.
Now I have two dogs, and bird, too. They all teach me more about love and how to transform fear.
4. The dogs teach me to accept love. they bound down the stairs each time I come home as if I’ve been away to war for 6 months and not to Safeway for an hour.
5. The bird teaches me how to relax and just be. This bird is still, joyful, smart, and loving. She helps me be more of those things in her presence.
Have anxiety? Get a pet!
Something to take care of, even a fish or turtle. But remember, love goes both ways, and we learn by giving. Get them that toy, that treat, that time and savor those moments expanding into love to melt away the angst.