Furry little friends are proven to be helpful in calming anxiety. Not just for ADHD/ADD kids but for anyone. The benefits of stroking, and being nuzzled by, a furry animal can be significant.
I had a first-hand experience with my middle child, my “little spinner”, who was quiet for 4 hours when we picked up our new family member. She sat in the back seat, rubbing the back of our little 7 week-old puppy. I was looking in the rear-view mirror over and over, wondering if she was healthy, tired, or unhappy. Previously, it was nearly impossible for her to fall asleep without help. Here she was, absolutely content, petting her new best friend. It didn’t stop when the novelty of having a dog ran out. The spinning turned into walking many times a day, in the cold or/and rain, playing, feeding, and offering help.
Would I recommend a dog or cat or any furry animal to your kid with ADHD? Yes, absolutely! Could I guarantee that you would experience such a great change? No, of course not. Nothing comes with guarantees. But our Ruby is truly helpful.
Other Proven Anxiety Relievers, Alone or In Combination
I have been asked numerous times why I run. I didn’t know how to answer until recently. Running is like re-living a lifetime’s emotional experiences in mile-to-mile increments; a microcosm of life. Long-distance running requires stamina, as does life. It allows one to things through; to examine life’s frustrations, threats, and concerns, but also to consider achievements and states of happiness and satisfaction.
Starting with “Don’t over-think, just go!”
If I thought about why I should hit the road I would never leave the house. That is the moment when you just put the shoes on and go. Just go! The Nike’s Logo – JUST DO IT – is right on the nose.
The same as in life. Should I bother with doing a task? Is it really worth it? Should I leave it for another day perhaps? I fear that nothing would get done.
The same goes for “don’t give up“! This is a hard one. How many times do we not feel like pushing through anymore? Things feel too hard and/or pointless and these moments of struggle present quite a challenge. When we feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel or when we can’t see results, curling up in a blanket with a book seems a much better option then dealing with a struggle and/or disappointment. That is the time when my jaw is clenched and we just need to push through. Through tears, sweat, obscenities, we must heed the Nike call and,…well, you know it. In the end, a warm shower washes away what remains of one’s troubles and we are left refreshed.
People who suffer moderate to severe depression would laugh at my previous paragraph. To make it clear – I am referring to a struggle that is possible to conquer with a good run and a good push and a good mantra and not a depression where medication is required to help with chemical imbalances and the like. That is not my area of expertise so, sorry, I cannot be more helpful here.
Though I’m by no means a master, running helps me to set my mind on finishing, no matter what; on not allowing bad thoughts stop me from a bad result or from accomplishing my goal. The mind is constantly monitoring the body’s condition, but it can also give false signals. How do we know when we are really in distress, or when we just don’t feel up to the challenge that day? When do we wisely decide to stop and when are we to push through? Well, I guess it comes to knowing yourself, and even then it is not easy to recognize. Experience leads to wisdom and, ultimately, you become your own Master.
My recent Marathon was an experiment if I can sustain positive thoughts for the whole 26.2 without walking. If I could do it on a challenging run, I could do it in life. In theory, anyone who sets their minds on a goal has the capacity.
I do talk about the challenge with my kids. I tell them my stories, thoughts, and struggles and I hope I influence them positively. For my Spinner, experiences with our new fur-ball and runs are an amazing help. Not just for burning off the abundance of energy, but also to learn the value of commitment.
With all the children, we start with a one-mile run, going slowly and focusing on one thought. After the challenge, I ask them if they were able to sustain just the one thought during the course of the mile. More than likely, they cannot. More than likely they are going to be all over the place with their thoughts but, always, one thing gets done – they finish the run! There is something to be celebrated. Next time, we do another mile but stick to the planned-out thought. Through practice, the thought is retained and challenges are added accordingly.
Sometimes one step back can push us 2 steps forward. We just need to keep going. JUST KEEP GOING, JUST KEEP GOING. Your kid will, most likely, come home hungry and sweaty – conditions which are easily remedied. In the end, our little mission is accomplished and, invariably, we have a calmer, healthy, happier, and more-resolute child. The extra energy spent on running was helpful and the fresh air is an added bonus.
Running and snuggling our puppy is working for me and my Spinner. Another child may benefit from another sport/activity but, in truth, all that is required is the guidance of a positive coach/parent, so long as we never give up, we keep pushing, and we Just Do It!