I find politics and the news in general to be very disturbing lately. No matter what side of the political spectrum you occupy, I think we can all agree that it’s a troubling time in politics, and many of us are disturbed and stressed by the violence and harmful rhetoric in the air. I’m not interested in writing an article about “which side are you on?” or encouraging more harmful or inflammatory discussion. That’s not my style. But being a particularly empathetic type, I am distressed by the tenor of political news these days.
So what does a person like me do when the news or the vibes from political events are too much to take? Easy — turn to my cats. Why? Because cats make everything better. Yes, they do.
This really is very simple and requires only some mindfulness. Instead of letting yourself get sucked into the negativity of political rhetoric, take a moment, any moment, and bring your cats into your life. Celebrate the lovely qualities about your cats. Thank goodness they are cats and not humans — their feline nature helps us get a break from ourselves. I can’t imagine a world without cats — and I bet you can’t, either.
How can anyone resist a cat?
I’ve found a number of effective and easy ways we can let our cats into our lives to help us ease the difficult parts of daily living. Here are a few ideas you can immediately apply.
Sounds big, right? It doesn’t have to be. Try if you will, just for 15 minutes, one hour, or one day, to think — and voice — positive thoughts only. You will eventually find your mindset changing and your stress levels dropping. Sure, negative stuff will creep in at first — it takes time and repetition to reshape thought patterns.
Just as I was writing this, a Facebook meme popped up, urging us to think when we’re about to speak: “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” This is a great test to apply to troubling thoughts that want to take hold of our minds. Pretty clear.
Now onto the cats.
Are you at home? Pet your cat, now! Nothing will take your mind off negativity (and things you can’t control) like interacting with your beloved cats. Play with your cats. Let them show you how to have fun again. Brush your cats (the ones who enjoy brushing, anyway) and enjoy bonding time with them. The cats will fill your mind and your space with good energy. You won’t have room in your brain for any troubling news reports.
Is this sticking your head in the sand to hide from reality? Maybe. But what’s wrong with taking time for a healthy mindset, and taking time for quality love time with your cats? It makes us better equipped to face the world — I firmly believe this.
If you’re not at home, bring pics of your cat to work, or store them on your phone. (ALL the photos on my phone are of cats.) Look at that cat photo — take a moment and really look at it. Pretend you’re there with your fur baby — pretend you are petting him or saying the cute things that nobody else gets to hear.
Don’t have a cat? Get to a shelter and love up the kitties there. You might make it a volunteer gig. Or, snuggle with a friend’s cat. Or help the free-roaming strays and ferals in your neighborhood. Helping others often improves your attitude and outlook in ways you’d never anticipated.
Make it a point to limit screen time, which is often full of incendiary words and images about politics, fueled by people with vengeful agendas. Turn off the TV, or move away from your laptop or phone, and give your cat some love. Many times I’ve been buried in my work (not necessarily incendiary political material, but work that has to get done). Screen time can take me deep into my own world and completely unaware of Norton, who is trying to tell me that he really wants to play, or Zorro, who’s flopping cutely so that I’ll notice him, or any of my other wonderful cats and what they do.
Let’s put it this way: Troubling politics and people with scores to settle will be around forever, but our cats will not be. Seize the opportunity now to love cats — your cats or cats in general — and to help cats. Give your mind and your life a break from material that wants to hook you and take over your mind.