Managing stress around change

I love animals. I learn many lessons from them especially ways to manage stressful change and intuitively knowing what is really needed to have a content life.  They teach by example.   

How can we learn from animals how best to manage stressful changes? By observing them.  I just acquired a new member of our household.  I have one cat, Bookee,  that I rescued about 4 years ago and just obtained another cat, Miss Kitty.  She came when a relative could no longer take care of her. She knew me but that did not make it any less stressful for her.  A new home, new humans and a new animal companion.

Animals are intuitive with what they need and are good at finding it.  She immediately hid until she could feel comfortable exploring her new surroundings.  This took about 4 days.  She was safely hidden in my art studio with food, water and her litter box.  She clung to me, and I did what cat’s love best, to be petted and rubbed behind the ears.

My male cat was very interested in her but is a very mild mannered fellow so did not disturb her until she was ready to meet him.  He kindly gave her space and let her approach him, which at first did not go well.  She growled and hissed at Bookee who just blinked and closed his eyes.  A cat’s way of saying, I am no threat.  Even though it has been almost two weeks, she still hisses at him occasionally but does not run, and he continues to be a gentleman.  I have found them sleeping together and there has been some attempt at play.  However, as she gets less stressed and more comfortable, she is adjusting to her new surroundings. I have to admit that I did do some EMDR tapping on her shoulders when she hissed at Bookee which seemed to calm her down.

Animals are very present moment creatures which allows them to settle into  change much quicker than humans.  It is what is happening right now that matters. They still retain what they have learned from the past, but do not dwell in it and because they have no concept of the future, do not worry about it.

Imagine!  Not worrying about the future and not dwelling in the past but knowing what you need right at this moment. What a wonderful lesson.   Of course, animals’ needs are simpler than ours and they do not need to pay the bills.  Nevertheless, they provide us with many lessons including perseveration.   I just watched a squirrel on the suet bag that I have for the birds.  She finally got on it after several failed attempts and once on it, she spun around enough times that I got dizzy watching her! But she held on.  The perseveration that she demonstrated reinforced my awe at  an animal’s ability to find ways to get what they need and to manage change, stress and life.

This is when we take this lesson and reflect and explore what it is that we really need.  Return to your intuitive place which resides in the center of your being.  Take a breath or two. If you have had a change, stay quiet “hide” for awhile until you get grounded and safe again.  Take small steps and do not be afraid to retreat if you need to.  Reach out to supports that can reassure you.  Stay present and persevere. Everything changes, therefore, learning how to manage the stress of change can be a very helpful tool.

Miss Kitty     Miss Kitty

Bookee Bookee





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