How to keep from getting over-stressed

Max asks: Everything I do, like any task in hand, I tend to get hectic when I perform that task. For example, just now I forgot my password for this site, and then after out of nowhere I started getting hectic – couldn’t calm myself even doing the simple thing of opening my email and clicking the link! How can I keep myself collected when I feel kind of hectic?!

Hi Max –



Oh wow, do I relate!  I’m not quite as hyper as when I was a puppy (then I was a complete turbo-engine!), but I’m still a dog with tons of energy, and I get absolutely wild at lots of times.  Some are obvious (when I see a cat or a squirrel in our yard, or when someone comes to the door), but others are, well, frankly, a little weird.  Like I’ll be in the car with Handsome, and we’ll be driving along, and I’m checking out everyone we pass, perfectly happy and content, and then suddenly I’ll see one person and start barking like crazy at them.  Even I don’t know why!  It just happens!


The most important thing for you (or me) to do in a situation like this, Max, is to be aware of it.  And it sounds like you’re getting that already, which is terrific.


The next thing is to give yourself a bit of time.  A few seconds, a minute, five minutes, whatever it takes.  And to B-R-E-A-T-H-E!


One thing we dogs do better than you humans is panting.  When we get uptight, we’ll start breathing very quickly, whereas most humans actually stop breathing – they hold their breath, purse their lips, grit their teeth… exactly what their bodies don’t need at that moment.


Though even our panting isn’t the way to relax (it just gives us oxygen, while you guys cut yours off!).  The thing you want to do is to breathe very slowly and deeply.  This will actually slow your heart rate down, it will relax your body, and it will center you.  The problem with the hectic place you and I go to is that we lose touch with what we’re doing, where we are, and what we want at that moment.  Doing some slow breathing will pull your crazy wild energy back in, so you can focus on what you’re really wanting and needing then, from your center.


Now it’s possible you could be suffering from something more intense than I do, which is called a Panic Attack.  If that’s the case, the breathing is still the best thing to do, but it might also be good to find a therapist who’s trained in helping with these things, as they can become dangerous if they get more intense.


But for now, I’d mainly suggest that you just do some deep breathing whenever this hectic energy hits.  And you might even want to start doing that breathing for a few minutes every morning anyway, just to help your body do a better job of regulating itself.


After all, you don’t want to be freaking out over a website password.  That’s too minor an issue.  Nothing really big or serious – it’s not like a squirrel’s in your yard!


Go for it, Max!



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