Bring in the Dogs Wednesday, Jul 24 2019 

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Flight delayed? Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Connecticut has a remedy to keep everyone calm—pets to the rescue.

While waiting in BDL for a flight home that ended up delayed more than six hours, handlers and their therapy dogs remained available for petting. I definitely can attest to the positive affect the Australian Shepherds had on the initially irritated crowd. Grunts and groans quickly transformed into oohs and ahs once the dogs appeared. The animals’ mere presence was helpful, and after a few strokes of their luxurious coats, travelers magically became significantly calmer. Smiles blossomed across the gates between travelers and the staff working diligently to accommodate everyone.

Pet Therapy, also known as Animal Assisted Therapy, involves a handler and an animal trained to assist people with physical and emotional issues. The therapy is found to help lower blood pressure, release endorphins, alleviate pain, reduce stress, improve motor skills and joint movement, and improve verbal and social skills. Dogs and cats are the most common animals used as “therapists,” but fish, guinea pigs, horses, and even dolphins are trained.

The only drawbacks to pet therapy may occur when people are allergic to animal dander or sanitary issues arise. Pets also may be at risk from unintentional harm from people.

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Have you seen my last post on Mary K Doyle Books, “Speak to Me?” 

Living Thoughtfully Sunday, Mar 6 2016 

 

The many years of caring for my husband with Alzheimer’s disease has prompted me to remain in the present. I learned a long time ago not to look back at the past with frustration at what no longer can be. I also rarely look ahead with worry. If I’m on track today, tomorrow will be fine.

Nearly a year ago, I had a medical event that has raised my consciousness significantly further. After a series of tests, I was diagnosed with a condition called fibromuscular dysplasia. Because it is at least in my left inner carotid artery and the renal arteries, complications can include high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic kidney failure, aneurysms, dissections, and stroke.

I’m fortunate to be seeing one of the doctors who wrote the paper on FMD for the American Heart Association. He advised I follow a Mediterranean diet, exercise, avoid stress, and be aware of signs of stroke. He said if I have one, I could lose the vision in my left eye and all function on my right side. When I asked what he thought my chances of stroke were, he gave me the vague answer that it may or may not happen.

I’m not sure why I even asked that question. After all, even if he said it was 95% certain that I would have a stroke, why can’t I be the 5% who doesn’t? Again, I’m not going to worry about what might not happen. Today is where I will remain.

The diagnosis and this perspective have led me to live thoughtfully. More often, I take a moment of pause before speaking, acting, or doing. I ask if this is on what or with whom I want to spend my time, money, efforts, talent, and energy. Do I want these words to be my last? Is this a product I’m proud to promote? Are these the people I want to be with until the end?

I’m working to simplify and declutter my life as much as possible. I don’t want to leave behind any messes for my kids to clean up or waste time caring for things that don’t matter to me.

This new approach is actually quite a lovely way to live. It doesn’t eliminate activities I’d rather not do but my attitude has changed. I scrub the bathroom, because I like it clean. I pay the bills to get them off my desk. And any bit of free time, I do what makes me happiest.

I’ve always been grateful for my many blessings. Now, I enjoy them much more.

©2016, Mary K. Doyle

Life is Good – At Least I Think So Monday, Jul 1 2013 

Think you’re stressed? Think again. That thought alone is hazardous to your health.

According to a new study published in the European Heart Journal, people who believe they are stressed have twice the risk of heart attack than those who do not.

Stress is a reaction to a stimulus. Sometimes it is useful in motivation and survival. When it is chronic and triggers the fight-or-flight response to be stuck in the on position it’s another story. This condition weakens our immune system and taxes every system of the body.

Stress signals the hypothalamus to prompt the adrenal glands to release hormones such as adrenaline to increase heart rate and elevate blood pressure. It also promotes the hormone cortisol to increase glucose in the bloodstream, alter immune system responses, and suppress the digestive and reproductive systems.

When stress is always present and that fight-or-flight response is activated indefinitely, the resulting overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones prompts a long list of health risks including: headache, muscle pain, chest pain, fatigue, nausea, sleep disruption, anxiety, irritability, depression, eating and digestive disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual dysfunction, heart disease, memory impairment, and worsening of skin conditions such as eczema.

If you want to avoid these health problems, do what you can to avoid the person, job, or situation that causes you stress, and in the meantime, think happy thoughts.

(see more at www.mayclinic.com)

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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