My mom’s been reading an interesting book, Choke by Sian Beilock. Well, she says it’s interesting. I may write my blog but I don’t read books.
This book explains why people freeze when they’re under intense pressure. It’s why top students get low scores on big exams, like SATs.
As a dog, I rarely experience this pressure. I passed my temperament test at the Barking Lounge with flying colors. Fortunately they did not evaluate my mom’s temperament, but that’s another post.
So where do I come in?
Well, it seems that one proven strategy involves taking a break. When you feel totally pressured and stressed, give yourself some distance.
When you have a dog, you have no choice. Here’s how I earn my crunchies. Most of the time I’m lying on my cushion, watching my mom work in her office. It’s pretty boring. Luckily I get enough exercise so I am usually sleepy.
But when I sense that my mom is getting intensely frustrated, or it’s just long past time for a walk, I rise from my cushion and flap my ears.
“Uh oh,” my mom sighs. “I’ll have to take you out, won’t I? Just let me finish this one thing…”
So then I come up and rest my head on her knee. I look at her imploringly. We have to take a break.
“Okay, Gracie,” she says. “Let me just set down a plate of cat food for Ophelia. She can’t jump to the kitchen counter the way Creampuff does. She can’t eat while you’re loose around here. The poor thing is hungry.”
Yeah, right. All 15 pounds of furry feline.
Once she’s up and moving, my mom doesn’t waste any time. Now that we live in Belltown we take a fast walk to the dog park. Sometimes we run into the park regulars and hang out awhile.
By the time we’re home. Cathy is feeling refreshed and ready to hit the computer again. I am feeling good because most park regulars (and a lot of strangers) make a big fuss over me.
See? Pressure is lifted. Mom thinks more clearly. And it’s all because of me, the resident dog.