If you feel that the recent Presidential election has gone to the dogs, you may be right but not in the way you think. For the millions who voted for the presidential candidate that didn’t win but are fortunate enough to live with a canine, your BFF may be just what the doctor ordered. Studies show dogs as companions help decrease stress, PTSD, and anxiety in humans. Dogs can help us move past our disappointment, dismay, and dejection – if we only we would allow them to show us how.
If you want to find a way to trump your mood, consider the following three tips that if a dog were your doctor, he or she might prescribe for better days ahead.
- Shake it off: Dogs have an amazing capacity to let go of the past even when they have gone through tremendous trauma. I have seen this from the many dogs I have rescued whose beginnings were less than favorable at the hands of humans. For those of us who had our hearts set on a different political future, it’s important that we honor and feel our emotions, but it’s equally as vital that we shake it off and move forward towards mending the strained bonds within our families, communities, and country.
- Play More: Finding time to seek and feel joy doesn’t mean you don’t care about the state of the world. It does mean you care enough about yourself to feed your spirit. According to U.S. News and World Report, playing is good for problem-solving. You never know if that game of fetch with your dog will spark an idea that will inspire and motivate you towards a specific action that will create a better tomorrow.
- Service Serves Us: Guide dogs for the blind, cancer sniffing dogs, emotional support dogs, psychiatric service dogs – every day there seems to be a new form of service dog helping their human guardians move past their health and emotional challenges. Service benefits not only the person on the receiving end but is also good for the person doing the giving. What has bothered you most about this election? Black Lives Matter? LGBTQ rights? Women’s issues? Whatever it is that calls you, do what dogs do – give, give, and then give some more.
Dogs have been protecting us from danger for thousands of years. Today, they may be protecting our most valuable asset – our health and well-being. If you have been shaken by the results of the election and find yourself unable to move past your shock, anxiety, and fear, you may need to seek the help of a professional. But even in these therapeutic settings, dogs may be sitting alongside you bringing you calm, comfort, and a helping paw.
Get the most out of your health connection with your dog by cultivating your friendship day-by-day and treat-by-treat. Choose to see your dog with a new clarity for what they have to offer beyond being just a mere pet. And if you don’t have a dog, consider taking a drive to your local shelter, where your best dog doctor may be eagerly waiting for you to adopt them and bring them home.
Carlyn Montes De Oca L.Ac, M.T.O.M., Dipl. O.M. is an author, speaker, acupuncturist, and plant-based nutritional consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the author of the upcoming book, “Dog as My Doctor, Cat as My Nurse, an animal lover’s guide to a healthy, happy and extraordinary life,” For more information go to www.AnimalHumanHealth.com or contact Carlyn directly at cmdo@AnimalHumanHealth.com