Dog Music?

I know this isn’t really self-help related, it’s more like dog help, but I thought it was really, really worth the share.  My little Allie is terrified of fireworks.  I mean hide in the corner facing the wall, refusing to eat or respond to humans scared of fireworks. Every year we stay home just to make her feel a little more comforted.

Last year, I tried “dog music” and it didn’t work. But desperate for anything that may help, and hoping that it had at least made her a little more comforted even if not noticeable, I decided to try again this year.

I downloaded “A Dog’s Ear” from Amazon Prime and began playing it as soon as I heard the first boom at around 6:00 pm.  She instantly fell asleep (which isn’t saying much for a bulldog). But throughout the night she has remained by my feet on the blanket, not in the corner cowering in fear. It’s about 10:30 pm now, and she has been sleeping through the fireworks for hours. Even the ones in our own community parking lot.

I thought maybe she just has been sensitized after a few years and isn’t scared anymore, so I turned the music off.   At the next bang, she started whining and doing her two-paw nervous dance and then began to search for a way to get in the bedroom (where her hiding corner is) through the closed door. I turned the music back on, and she rested her face on the couch and asked for pets.  Then she fell asleep again.

At the really loud ones that vibrate the floor, she lifts her head and looks outside, but that’s it. Her breathing is normal, and she’s not exhibiting any of her usual signs of anxiety. She’s also literally sleeping through most of it. The music isn’t bad either.  It has several popular classical songs and instrumental versions of popular ballads. There are 20 songs on the album, and it plays for a few hours.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I still recommend it.  If it works, it’s worth it, and if it doesn’t, then oh well.

 

Finding Calm

I recently started using the Calm app.  I never really intended to do a review on it, but in just a few days it has made enough of an impact on my life that I decided to share my experience.

Calm is a free app designed to help you begin a mindfulness meditation practice.  I have tried many times in my life to “meditate” using many different approaches but never felt like it was working.  My mind still felt cluttered, and I didn’t feel any of the relaxation or anxiety reduction that everyone was talking about. This time, using the Calm app has been very different.

I started as a subscriber to their Instagram page. I loved the beautiful images and often drew inspiration from the quotations.  I always just ignored the app, but one day I decided to try it out just for something to do.   So far, I have only used the free portions. Although there are many other options available with a subscription, I find the free content to be valuable.

Here’s what I like best:

  • Only takes a few minutes a day
  • Beautifully animated images of nature scenes with your choice of many different nature, calming, or white noise sounds playing in the background (can be played in app only or outside of the app depending on your settings)
  • Helpful guided meditations that teach you how to have an effective mindfulness practice
  • A selection of guided and unguided meditation sessions
  • A breath timer that allows you to focus on breathing and relaxation
  • Stories that engage your mind and then slowly taper off to help your mind transition from the bustle of your day into deep and relaxed sleep (just like when you were a kid!)
  • A calendar to help you track your practice (number of consecutive days, number of sessions, total time spent meditating)
  • An option to leave feedback after every guided session

If you’re like me, and always wanted to try meditating but never found a way to actually achieve it, I highly recommend this app. In just a few days I am beginning to notice when my mind wanders, and am discovering things about myself by noting where it wanders to. I love how the guided meditations encourage you to notice these wandering thoughts, and not be frustrated or judge yourself about it but just come back to the moment. I’m excited to see what changes in my practice and in my life after more time spent cultivating mindfulness and meditation.