Social Anxiety and Social insecurities are two issues that are not typically brought up into the community. Our initiative want to make a point and it within our efforts to try and share some skills that we have come across . We believe that they can really help pups around the country that potentially suffer with those conditions or any other mental health illness.
Waging war with anxiety and/or depression can be quite daunting.
Pups that are already members of our community and are active within our social events along with a whole plenum of to-be-pups (new comers to our community) are our target.
So we have compiled a small list of to do activities that can potentially aid in your efforts to rear the ugly and scaly symptoms of Social anxiety and depression as a puppy in the community.
Anxiety is a nasty little creature that can pop up in the least expected places. It could be at work, on a play-date or on a social pup event (especially if that is your first one and this is well expected)
Wear your hood
Should you find your self nervous about your identity at a play party or a social pup gathering, I would definitely try to invest in buying a hood. It doesn’t have to be one of the expensive/branded ones. We will be here to offer you advice on what options are available out there and sign post you to them. Even if it a simple Lycra/spandex hood and some fuzzy ear , people will identify you as a pup and usually will be greeting you in a positive manner, along with a big smile.
I know this may sound a bit stupid to you all, considering the type of weather we have here in the UK, along with the lack of sun most of the times.
However this is a little tip I have picked up from Tumblr accounts and twitter and it is definitely useful most of the times.
Social anxiety can make you experience a fear of being looked at or starred at and it can also make you fearful of eye contact. That can be very distressing when other pups and handlers are feeling happy for your presence and want to either play with you or pet you and give you the fuss that you are seeking for.
So grab some stylish sunglasses, they work with most of the hoods available out there, and they can give you an extra spiffy/cute look.
This might look and sound quite funny and stupid if you have never attempted or enjoyed the benefits of breathing techniques before. However, they can be an amazing tool which will definitely help decelerate a fluttery heart or a noise filled mind.
It doesn’t work from the very first time, though! You wouldn’t expect to score a goal from your very first attempt of kicking a ball would you ?!
You need to practice yourself first! The internet and more specifically you tube will give you a whole plenum of different breathing techniques and you will surely find step by step guides that can help you through .
Practice them anywhere you like. In the care, at home, at work or even when you are attending a pup social event. Our brain is a muscle like any other. You have to work with it before you start lifting big weights.
This is most likely the easiest thing you can do to outwardly help decreasing your anxiety my sweet puppers !
Studies have shown that smiling can lift your mood and at the same time the mood of the other pups and handlers around you!
When you are feeling anxious, your body and face shows it too.
Wear your biggest smile, not only you shall feel better but you will look more pleasant and attractive to thos around you!
And if you wear a pup hood….remember it shows in your eyes !!!
You are a pup aren’t you ?!
And what do puppies do ?
They get on all fours and romp around!
Whether you are alone or with a friend or with a partner or even in a social pup event, working out that playful energy of your inner pup self can prove very good for you and your anxiety issues.
Chew a toy, pounce a squeaky or even shrew that stuffie of yours!
If you have a tail wag it ! Try to get your mind away from thoughts that make you feel anxious.
If you find yourself struggling to join and socialise in the pup community due to stress or anxiety or maybe you are looking for that one special handler or pup friend to take your lead and help you to come out, this may be a good exercise for yourself!
Attempt to act it out on your own, with a friend or even jaw it down on a piece of paper or on your computer/mobile.
Role play the scenario in your head! Don’t be afraid to include as many positive and negative outcomes as you like. Maybe write a message to the leader or the ambassadors of tha community!
I would definitely suggest to try and make contact with one of our Members within our APawForPaws initiative! We are here for you and we can offer you the support you require. And should we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot provide the help that you require, rest assured we will definitely sign post you to the relevant individuals or settings that will help you with it.
Carry your toy with you
It can be any toy that you like and have. It is within our experiences so far , that we came to understand that a lot of puppies out there have a special bond with their toys. They have sentimental value to pups! Squeaky toys ,crinkly toys, little plushies and teddies or even something you picked up at your local convenience store because you just liked the colour… Bring it on!
*Ahmmmmm* I personally have a plushie Otis who I keep in my passengers seat in the car and he is my support and navigator for wherever I am driving to !
I always give him a hug or a squeak whenever I feel stressed or worried… And shall I say he has definitely helped to reduce my road rage heheh!
Just take 5 minutes
All I am asking you is 5 minutes of your time. If you do have a hood put it one… add some knee pads and crawl around for 5 minutes… chew your toy or play with a ball… Gaze at the moon (quite a puppyish thing 😛 ).
If you are not feeling it within those minutes that’s of you can stop. Even this little effort can sometimes be a ‘wrecking ball’ that will lead you eventually in that headspace and who knows eventually in your own pupspace!
And if not… just be proud of yourself for trying it! Don’t worry… you did even those few minutes! Little victories like that are the ones that matter!
Schedule your time
I understand that you might have a lot of things in your life happening. Work, university, friends, gym, family…. But please make sure to schedule some time to pup out on a regular basis!
Puppy play can be very therapeutic. It can relieve your stress and anxiety from those things that you would otherwise dwell on whilst watching a movie or browsing the internet.
APawForPaws is here for you if you need us! Our puppy ambassadors and support network will be there over our internet page and during any pup events to offer you help when you need it.
You don’t have to suffer this alone!
And if you don’t wish to contact us, try and reach out for a pup or handler friend that you trust or see fit to help you!
Pup with a Friend or a Handler
It can be anyone you chose!
Be it another pup, a handler, an owner(maybe your owner), or anyone in the social pup play scene.
We human pups are social creatures! And we all understand that solitude is on ingredient for worsening of our anxiety and depression.
If you feel you can afford it go out there and get those puppy mitts, that beautiful hood you are dreaming of, that amazing shinny rubber/leather/neoprene/chain collar you wanted for so long!
Anything you see fit that can make you feel like a pup!
Should you aren’t able to afford it, be creative… Try and make your own gear out of something! It doesn’t have to be perfect or expensive. At least a finished item will give you some pride once you got it on you!
Remember art and crafting are known for their boosting effects on our self esteem and happiness!
Studies have shown that cuddling can increase ‘the happiness hormone’ (oxytocin) in our brains!
This is amazing news for puppies with anxiety/depression and/or social insecurities, because it can help lift your spirits! Furthermore, oxytocin is known to help increase your sense of bonding with others, by making you feel less of an outsider and more like part of the pup community and/or of our greater Pack!
Remember cuddling stuffies can help lift your mood too and decrease your anxiety levels…
So keep your little one tight in your hug!