1. If no one else had any opinion about this, how would I feel?
2. Is the fear of failure, or of success, standing in my way?
3. If nobody’s feelings could get hurt, what would I do?
4. If I wasn’t trying to be “practical,” what would I decide?
5. Will I survive even if it doesn’t work out?
I used to live as a slave to fear. There were a lot of things in life I wanted to try, but fear always kept me stuck. Perhaps you can relate?
I didn’t realise how badly this affected me until I met my husband Aaron. He is a risk taker and life lover with two key mottos: “Try everything in life at least once” and “You can’t say you don’t like something if you’ve never tried it”.
As Aaron is an avid scuba-diver, and I was petrified of water, I often found myself using every excuse under the sun to explain why I wouldn’t ever try diving. He would smile, frown or laugh at all my creative excuses. One day he just gave up attempting to convince me of how incredible the underwater world is, and said “Oh well, you’re the one who will die without ever having experienced the marvel of seeing life under the sea”.
The sad thing was that while I was dead afraid of the water, particularly the ocean, I was also equally fascinated by it! Instinctively I knew diving would open up an amazing experience for me, but I wasn’t willing to allow myself the chance to face my fear. I hid behind excuses.
One day sitting on the beach, watching Aaron dive, I realised that I was being my own worst enemy. I started having a debate inside my head. Here are the 5 questions I asked myself. You can use these same 5 questions to challenge your own excuses for what you say you wouldn’t or couldn’t ever do…
1. If I were to die right now and I hadn’t done “it”, how would I feel?
I had convinced myself that not learning to dive was a great decision, that diving and seeing underwater were unimportant to me. I was lying to myself. To me there was nothing more interesting, but I was being a chicken. I knew I would feel immense regret if I didn’t give it a go.
2. If I did “it”, would I feel more excited about myself and life?
I was living within an illusion that I was happy with who I was being, and that I didn’t need to do anything crazy to prove myself. I was right in the “not needing to prove myself”, but I was incorrect in saying I was happy with who I was being… because I was being a fearful shell of the real person I am. I was not allowing myself to step up and really experience all that life had to offer. If I did it, I knew I would feel super amped about myself and life!
3. If I knew I couldn’t fail and wouldn’t die in the process, would I give “it” a go?
I was irrationally attached to the thought of dying while diving! Perhaps a little melodramatic, but I had terrible childhood memories of badly run swimming lessons and almost drowning as a toddler from falling in a pool. This created an instinctive fight for survival whenever my head went under water. However, the deeper part of me knew that the “I might die” excuse was nonsense, because people dive every day around the world, and with an instructor by my side I would be very safe.
4. Do I believe I have the strength and courage to do it?
It was all too easy pretending that I wasn’t brave enough, that I wouldn’t be able to physically control myself and decisions in the water because of fear. The hilarious thing was that I was strutting around in every other area of my life with self-belief and incredible determination. Yet, here I was playing weak and meek regarding diving. I realised that “not being brave enough” was a lame excuse.
5. Do I think mastering this would help me in other areas of my life?
I had always convinced myself that you should stay away from what you fear, and stick to what you know and trust. However, when I got really honest with myself, I realised that my life was a safe little box that I was staying very comfortably within. Unless I started to do things differently, I wouldn’t grow as a person and I wouldn’t know what more I was capable of. I realised that when fear roars at you, it’s time to step up and face it, because that is the exact spot where life begins… at the end of your comfort zone.
Ditching Excuses to Start Living
Having challenged all of my own excuses and seeing how hollow they were, I finally did it! It took all my courage and will power to complete the diving certification and while it was the most fear striking experience of my entire life, it was also the most exhilarating and freeing. I believe there is nothing in this life now that I cannot achieve, having faced my biggest fear. I no longer allow excuses to cover up opportunities for growth. If I did it in the face of a fear this big, you can too.
Source: Purpose Fairy
Animal-assisted therapy can help healing and lessen depression and fatigue.
Is medicine going to the dogs? Yes, but in a good way. Pet therapy is gaining fans in health care and beyond. Find out what’s behind this growing trend.
What is pet therapy?
Pet therapy is a broad term that includes animal-assisted therapy and other animal-assisted activities. Animal-assisted therapy is a growing field that uses dogs or other animals to help people recover from or better cope with health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and mental health disorders.
Animal-assisted activities, on the other hand, have a more general purpose, such as providing comfort and enjoyment for nursing home residents.
How does animal-assisted therapy work?
Imagine you’re in the hospital. Your doctor mentions the hospital’s animal-assisted therapy program and asks if you’d be interested. You say yes, and your doctor arranges for someone to tell you more about the program. Soon after that, an assistance dog and its handler visit your hospital room. They stay for 10 or 15 minutes. You’re invited to pet the dog and ask the handler questions.
After the visit, you realize you’re smiling. And you feel a little less tired and a bit more optimistic. You can’t wait to tell your family all about that charming canine. In fact, you’re already looking forward to the dog’s next visit.
Who can benefit from animal-assisted therapy?
Animal-assisted therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a range of health problems:
- Children having dental procedures
- People receiving cancer treatment
- People in long-term care facilities
- People hospitalized with chronic heart failure
- Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder
And it’s not only the ill person who reaps the benefits. Family members and friends who sit in on animal visits say they feel better, too.
Pet therapy is also being used in nonmedical settings, such as universities and community programs, to help people deal with anxiety and stress.
Does pet therapy have risks?
The biggest concern, particularly in hospitals, is safety and sanitation. Most hospitals and other facilities that use pet therapy have stringent rules to ensure that the animals are clean, vaccinated, well trained and screened for appropriate behavior.
It’s also important to note the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has never received a report of infection from animal-assisted therapy.
Animal-assisted therapy in action
Jack, known as Dr. Jack by his colleagues, is a miniature pinscher and the first facility-based assistance dog (service dog) to join Mayo Clinic‘s team in Rochester, Minn. A fully credentialed service dog, Jack has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2002.
Jack spends time with patients helping them work toward their recovery goals. For example, Jack and his trainer worked with a 5-year-old girl recovering from spinal surgery. Jack helped her relearn how to walk, taking a step backward each time she took a step forward. She also gave Jack a “checkup” each morning, which helped keep her moving. Eventually, she took Jack for walks with the help of a walker.
In addition to Jack, more than a dozen certified therapy dogs are part of Mayo Clinic’s Caring Canines program. They make regular visits to various hospital departments and even make special visits on request.
Source: Mayo clinic house call