If you are a cat-owner, then you know that owning a cat is far more enjoyable than what people say. In fact, during my work-from-home days and my practices, my cats love being involved in mindfulness activities. As soon as they hear that switch to a relaxing voice, they come running. Cats are not just aloof and grumpy creatures but are intuitive and emotional fluff-balls. Below are the top 5 lessons that I learned from my sweet kittens.
1. Be One-Mindful
Cats can narrow in on whatever they are doing. If they are screaming for food, they are screaming. If they are making biscuits, they are focused slowly on rhythmic movement. When petting them, they often do their best to twist and bump into you. If you have ever just observed a cat, they often watch you with wide eyes. If we can remember to focus on one thing at a time, we can hone our instincts into cat-like reflexes.
2. Allow Yourself to Just Observe
Cats are experts at taking in their surroundings, moving their ears, and noticing even the slightest changes. They mindfully observe sounds, and they bask in the warmth of the sunshine; cats just rest. You can often find a cat sitting in their favorite spot with their eyes closed, just existing. The benefits of just observing include being grounded in our thoughts, relaxing, improving our motivation, and improving our ability to regulate our emotions.
3. Participate Fully
Have you ever watched a cat play? When a cat locks into their target, they focus solely on that string. They will chase a toy, fly through the air to catch, and never lose their laser-like focus. When you give a cat catnip, they enjoy the whole experience and rub their entire bodies in it. When cats jump, they jump headfirst. Cats trust themselves and their instincts. They know that they do their best when participating fully in an activity. When we participate fully, we can more effectively enjoy ourselves and embrace the moment.
4. Honor Your Needs
Cats often get a terrible reputation for being too independent and cold. In reality, cats acknowledge and accept their limitations. They are happy in their own company. They know when they hit their limit from pets and choose to walk away. Cats get a bad rep because they can do what many struggle to do: trust and accept their own needs without being preoccupied with everyone else. Cats are experts at honoring their own needs. If we practice connecting with our Wise Mind, we too can walk away when we need.
5. Move Your Body
Cats are expert contortionists. They take many shapes and sizes and move their bodies as they see fit. They take giant leaps, stretch their whole bodies, or curl into safe little balls. Sometimes, they even zoom about the room with a burst of energy. We as humans need to find joyful movement. Joyful movement has health benefits and creates a positive and fun attitude towards exercise and our bodies. Taking even just 5 minutes to stretch can aid our overall well-being.
Whether you fall on the cat side of the dogs versus cat argument, there are many things that we can learn from our furry friends. Take a moment today to practice mindfulness like a cat – be it basking in the sunshine, a restful body scan, or jumping headfirst into a playful activity. After all, is there any creature more mindful than a cat?