Monday, November 26, 2012

Seeking Wellbeing

 by E. Alana James, © 2012 
The Nature of Reality, and the Power of Pets

How do we go through life? Happy, eager, full of zest? Or perhaps stressed, challenged, or even, depressed? To what extent are these feelings within our control and, to the extent they are, at least partially, something we can change, how do we do it? What is the nature of our personal realities and what do we need to do to seek wellbeing?

Scenario: I'm typing away at my computer, in a mad rush because of a deadline. The next thing I notice (it's hard not to notice) is this huge black furry head with a ball in its mouth pushing my hands off the keyboard. Better yet, my dog Peter may have, instead of his ball, his rather ragged stuffed elephant. How can I resist?

"OK, OK just a throw or two!" Then of course, we must have the obligatory neck rub, which inevitably leads to his collapse on the floor to expose his tummy for a good rub there as well. Five minutes later he leaves me alone and goes back to his cushion in my office.

But wait? What has happened? I have a huge grin on my face as I get back to work. What has changed?
Has my deadline gone away? No. Then why do I feel flooded with bubbles of fun? My muscles relax, my mind returns to its focus, but at an easier pace. Peter has reminded me that life has an undercurrent of well being on which we can focus and from which we can gather peace of mind and happiness. He helps me keep my world in perspective.

Do you play with a pet? How does that make you feel? It doesn't seem to matter whether dog, cat, fish or bird, people who keep animals are statistically less likely to need medication for depression. While many studies have focused on the medical and social benefits of caring for an animal, what I want to look at is even more basic. Perhaps our pets act as catalysts, to remind us of the general wellbeing that is inherent in life. As they get wellbeing and fun from engaging with us, we do with them as well, and together we remind ourselves of the joy available to us whenever we look. 

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