Help Your Furry Friend Feel Less Anxious
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The Spruce / Sabrina Jiang
Just like people, cats can get stressed out from time to time. Boredom, overstimulation , and changes in their environment can easily set them off. While the best thing to do is keep your cats environment as stress-free as possible, calming aids for cats can also help when unavoidable changes are happening in their environment.
According to Dr. Zay Satchu, DVM, co-founder and Chief Veterinary Officer of Bond Vet, there are several different types of products marketed to help relieve stress and anxiety in cats, including treats, collars, sprays and plug-ins. Sprays and plug-ins work by releasing calming pheromones into the air that are calming and help kitty relax, explains Satchu. Treats use a blend of calming and relaxing herbs, similar to how some teas work for people.
So, what should you look for? The best calming aids contain pheromones, rosemary, chamomile, and/or tryptophan, says Satchu. Shes partial to Feliway products, but there are other options that cat parents have also used with some success. Keep in mind that no product is effective with 100 percent of cats, so it may take trying out a few different options to help your cat feel more relaxed.
Below, you’ll find the best calming aids for cats.
Understanding Anxiety And Insomnia
Whats behind the more stress, less sleep connection? If youre frequently triggering your stress response, your body never gets back to its baseline, says Johns Hopkins sleep expert Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., C.B.S.M.
Stress and sleepless nights are closely linked, Buenaver says. If youre in pain, tend to worry, or are coping with a difficult situation in your life, you may have more stress hormones than usual circulating in your body. A poor nights sleep adds even more. And those hormones may never be fully broken down. Its like running an engine in fifth gear all the time.
Best Treat: Vetriscience Composure Calming Formula For Cats
Delivery Method: Treat | Key Ingredients: Colostrum calming complex biopeptide blend, L-theanine, thiamine
Starts working in 20 to 30 minutes
Can increase dosage for desired results
Can be broken into smaller pieces
Some cats might not eat them
Can be difficult to chew
These treats, which combine colostrum, L-theanine, and thiamine can start to calm your cat down in as little as 30 minutes. In addition to soothing the nervous system, these ingredients support cognitive function and improve brain health. The dosage, or amount of chews you give, depends on your cats weight but if youre not getting the results you want, you can double or triple the amount with no adverse effects. You can also break a treat into pieces if a smaller bite is more appealing to your cat or you want to offer them a smaller dose. If you have a cat with an anxious personality, you can give these daily or you can administer them just as needed during particularly stressful times.
My cat is generally very nervous, so we wanted to find something to help her during car rides. It took several tries to get her to eat the VetriScience Composure treats, but we eventually had success by adding them to her regular breakfast. They do seem to help her chill out., Senior Editor
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Were More Stressed Today Whether Or Not We Admit It
In many parts of the world, more people today report experiencing negative experiences which includes physical pain, worry, sadness, stress and anger on a daily basis than at any recent point in history. What is causing everyone to feel so stressed and burnt out?
- Worries over finances and the economy
- Health and health care-related concerns
- Disapproval of government performance and worries over politics
- Anxiety over current events, including natural and societal events such as mass shootings, climate crisis, racial tensions and terrorism
- Stress due to social media and technology use
- Feelings of loneliness and depression
Chronic stress is considered the type of stress that interferes with your ability to function normally over an extended period, such as more than 6 months.
Obviously people of all ages can experience chronic stress, however its thought that younger and middle-aged adults between the ages of 15 and 49 are most likely to deal with debilitating chronic stress. Generation Z is considered to be the most stressed-out age group in many industrialized nations, due to factors like violence, political turmoil, poor finances and poor health, while Millennials report the highest rates of anxiety, loneliness and depression.
- Causes headaches and migraines
To Reduce Excessive Worry: L
L-tryptophan is converted to 5-HTP in the body, then to serotonin and to the hormone melatonin. Serotonin deficiency has been linked to poor sleep, loss of appetite, and depression and anxiety. Those with increased stress and anxiety may find themselves waking in the night. Supplementing with L-tryptophan or 5-HTP could help improve sleep.
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Natural Remedies For Anxiety And Stress
Natural remedies are generally safe to use alongside more conventional medical therapies.
However, alterations to the diet and some natural supplements can change the way antianxiety medications work, so it is essential to consult a doctor before trying these solutions. The doctor may also be able to recommend other natural remedies.
Tool No : Stop Eating Stress
This is the cardinal component of the bodys ability to deal with stress. A strong, healthy body is less affected by stressors than a weak one.
If you eat inflammatory foods every day, and your body is consistently low in the essential nutrients it needs, then its only a matter of time until the stress wins out and something in your body breaks, says Peter Glidden, ND. To optimize health, Glidden suggests eliminating foods such as wheat, barley, rye, oats, well-done red meat, meat with added nitrates, the skins of baked potatoes, and genetically modified corn or soy . And get your daily allowance of the 60 minerals, 16 vitamins, 12 amino acids, and two fatty acids that the human body cannot make.
What we fuel our bodies with in the morning enablesor disablesour interactions during the day. Try experimenting with this, says Bodzak. Grab a bagel or croissant at Starbucks and notice how you feel at 10 a.m. Another morning, have a cleaner, more soothing breakfast: a smoothie, or scrambled tofu with veggies, or a coconut yogurt parfait, and then notice how you feel at 10 a.m. Youll be surprised how much you notice the difference. Listen to your body.
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Tip : Make Quick Stress Relief A Habit
Its not easy to remember to use your senses in the middle of a minior or not so minocrisis. At first, it will feel easier to just give into pressure and tense up. But with time, calling upon your senses will become second nature. Think of the process like learning to drive or play golf. You dont master the skill in one lesson you have to practice until it becomes second nature. Eventually youll feel like youre forgetting something if you dont tune into your body during challenging times. Heres how to make it habit:
Start small. Instead of testing your quick stress relief tools on a source of major stress, start with a predictable low-level source of stress, like cooking dinner at the end of a long day or sitting down to pay bills.
Identify and target. Think of just one low-level stressor that you know will occur several times a week, such as commuting. Vow to target that stressor with quick stress relief every time. After a few weeks, target a second stressor and so on.
Test-drive sensory input. If you are practicing quick stress relief on your commute to work, bring a scented handkerchief with you one day, try music another day, and try a movement the next day. Keep experimenting until you find a clear winner.
Have fun with the process. If something doesnt work, dont force it. Move on until you find what works best for you. It should be pleasurable and noticeably calming.
Accept The Things You Can’t Change
Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.
“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, for example, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper.
“In a situation like that, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.”
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What Science Says About Curcumin
Amazingly, curcumin has been found to reverse harmful brain changes induced by chronic stress.
Human studies are also showing its potential to fight stress. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology showed that taking 500 mg of curcumin twice daily, with fenugreek, considerably reduced stress, anxiety, and fatigue while significantly increasing the quality of life in people suffering from extreme occupational stress.
In another 2015 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, 400 mg of curcumin was given to healthy adults aged 60 to 85. Only one hour after a single dose, participants scored better on tasks requiring sustained attention and working memory. Continuous use for weeks improved scores on working memory and mood, including general fatigue, calmness, and contentedness.
And it can even help with PMS. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 2016 in Neuropeptides, Curcumin was found to reduce anxiety experienced by women with PMS and to significantly reduce PMS-related emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms.
Best Drops: Richard’s Organics Pet Calm
Delivery Method: Liquid drops | Key Ingredients: Valerian, chamomile, passionflower, skullcap extract
Can be difficult to give to your cat
Wears off in a few hours
Richards Organics Pet Calm combines four relaxation-inducing herbsvalerian, chamomile, passionflower, and skullcap extractthat may help alleviate stress, anxiety, excitability, and improve your cats sleep. Because its a liquid drop, administration can be a challenge, especially since there are no added flavors to entice your cat to consume it. We recommend dropping it onto your cats paw and letting him or her lick it off.
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Tip : Recognize When Youre Stressed
It might seem obvious that youd know when youre stressed, but many of us spend so much time in a frazzled state that weve forgotten what it feels like when our nervous systems are in balance: when were calm yet still alert and focused. If this is you, you can recognize when youre stressed by listening to your body. When youre tired, your eyes feel heavy and you might rest your head on your hand. When youre happy, you laugh easily. And when youre stressed, your body lets you know that, too. Get in the habit of paying attention to your bodys clues.
Observe your muscles and insides. Are your muscles tense or sore? Is your stomach tight, cramped, or aching? Are your hands or jaw clenched?
Observe your breath. Is your breathing shallow? Place one hand on your belly, the other on your chest. Watch your hands rise and fall with each breath. Notice when you breathe fully or when you forget to breathe.
Talk To Friends And Family
Staying connected with family and loved ones can improve resilience to stress and contribute to effective coping strategies. Population groups across the world with the highest concentrations of centenarians, known as Blue Zones, prioritize family and social circles, which suggests that social connection plays a role in longevity and overall health.
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Best Spray: Pet Mastermind Cool Kitty Cat Calming Pheromone Spray
Delivery Method: Spray | Key Ingredients: Distilled water, proprietary cat pheromone, passion flowers jasmine medley and paraben-free preservative
Can spray it anywhere
Also contains soothing flowers
Works on a short term basis
The Pet MasterMind Cool Kitty Calming Spray also utilizes cat pheromones, but unlike a diffuser thats constantly releasing product into a general area, this one allows you to target and fully control where you spray. In addition to pheromones, it contains passionflower and jasmine, two florals that have additional calming effects. You can use it any time, but its especially useful during visits to the vet, while traveling, or when new pets or people come into the house. You can spray it onto your cat’s favorite hangout spots, like their bed or carrying case.
Stay Active And Exercise
Participating in physical activity can improve your stress resilience. During exercise, the body releases chemicals such as endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce anxiety. Adults should participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week to reap the many health benefits exercise offers.
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Along With A Healthy Lifestyle The Right Supplement May Help Tame Stress And Anxiety
Between economic concerns and ongoing global conflict, the majority of Americans are at peak stress levels. Seventy-three percent of respondents to this years Stress in America survey, conducted annually by the Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association , reported feeling overwhelmed by the number of crises facing the world right now, results the APA calls alarming.
Living in sustained survival mode for the past few years has definitely had an impact on our collective health, according to the survey results. Alcohol use is up, physical activity is down, and were not sleeping well.
These effects make sense, given what we know about how mental stress can affect physical health. Elevated stress hormones, especially cortisol, can increase inflammation, reduce immunity, and raise the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, chronic stress can negatively impact every aspect of your health and contribute to a wide range of problems, including:
Stress is a problem we clearly need to address, and there are numerous strategies that have been shown to be effective for relieving it, including eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, talking to friends or a mental health professional, and engaging in relaxation techniques and meditation, to name just a few.
Will Supplements Cure My Anxiety
While supplements may help you manage some symptoms, they likely wont cure your anxiety.
Because anxiety is often a result of an underlying cause like past experiences or biological factors its best to seek the support of a medical or mental health professional. They can help you address, understand, and learn to successfully manage your anxiety long term.
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How To Use Lemon Balm In Your Life
For most people, lemon balm is considered safe to take daily. Some health practitioners even recommend using it to soothe teething children. Many people use it to improve their mood and stress levels, as well as for anxiety or seasonal affective disorder.
Some ways to use this herb:
- As a tea
- In cooking and baking
- Lemon-balm infused water
If you have leaves from this plant, you can simply rub a leaf between your fingers to absorb some of its essential oils aromatically. Fresh lemon balm has its own special benefits, and its easy to grow in containers.
Homeopathic Remedies For Stress Relief
Looking for a gentle way to ease stress, anxiety, and depression? Homeopathic remedies offer nontoxic solutions that have been used for centuries to treat many ailments, including stress, anxiety, and depression. Although there is an ongoing debate in conventional medicine about its effectiveness, homeopathic therapys age-old wisdom has been bolstered over the years by clinical observations showing it works for many people.
Here are my top five choices of homeopathic remedies to help calm and soothe acute or chronic anxiety, stress, and depression. These remedies are sold individually and in combination formulas. Use a 30C potency, and follow label instructions for dosing.
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How To Shop For Cbd Products For Stress
CBD products arent regulated by the FDA. So the only thing the FDA can do is issue warning letters to companies making wild health claims. Despite this, companies can still mislabel and misrepresent their products.
To make sure youre shopping from a reputable company, check that the products come with an up-to-date, comprehensive COA from a respected third-party lab. We included COAs for every product we recommend above.
Companies should be transparent about where they grow or source their hemp. If a company doesnt provide transparent information about how and where they made their products, thats a red flag.
For CBD oils that help with stress specifically, it might be worth looking into products with added anti-stress ingredients, such as adaptogens and lavender.
Make Time For Leisure Activities
Leisure activities can be a wonderful way to relieve stress. Yet, many people feel as though their lives are too busy for hobbies, games, or extra fun.
But building time for leisure into your schedule could be key to helping you feel your best. And when you feel better, you’ll perform better, which means leisure time may make your work time more efficient.
Whether you find joy in caring for a garden or you like making quilts, hobbies and leisure are key to living your best life.
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