Beth Graham

One thing that can be said for our generation is the rise in cases of anxiety and stress. Anxiety takes a different form in every person and can stem from a multitude of different circumstances, from the feeling of drowning in your studies to worrying about other’s perception of you. Just as it is different for everyone, the ways in which we attempt to calm ourselves and relieve some of these stresses can differ just as much. When thinking of my own battles with anxiety, I tried to pinpoint exactly how I keep on top of it, the answers have fur and long tails. Animals instantly melt the stress away from me, so I decided to reach out to other students here at NUA to see if anyone had any stories to share about their furry companions (that and it gives us all an excuse to stare at an assortment of adorable animals for a few minutes – thank me later).

Hamish and Basil – Beth Graham

People have this idea that cats aren’t loyal creatures. If you met my cat, Hamish, this theory would be squashed in an instant! Whenever I feel overwhelmed with my duties as a producer on whatever film I am currently working on, he instantly melts the stress away. He offers something so unique in the sense that just ten minutes aside with him allow me to feel so refreshed – stroking a cat’s tummy is criminally underrated.

Onto Basil, the miniature dachshund, corgi cross. This little guy is a distraction in the best way possible. If I begin to feel like I’m drowning in my panicked thoughts or pressure to succeed, I go out and walk Basil for about an hour in which I reflect and relax. The best story of Basil I can share is his inclusion in my final film for first year. In a team of five and on our second production day, emotions and tensions were very high so I decided to introduce Basil during a break – everyone instantly came back together and even our actors got reconnected thanks to this little man.

Bailey – Megan Whiteside

This is my mini lop rabbit called Bailey (and I also had his sister Lottie) who died in September last year. My grandad also died a few weeks before her and it felt like Bailey and I were together because we were feeling the same feelings of loss. He became less affectionate after she died and it takes him a lot longer to warm up to people, so now when he gives me a nudge or runs to me it feels extra special. He’s really helped me with my anxiety for such a small bun. Over the past few months, he has gained his confidence back and I’ve learned a lot from him.

Aoife – Jack Bryer

This is Aoife. She’s the sweetest cat I’ve ever been around but her general understanding of what’s going on just isn’t there and a lot of the time she’s the punchline to her own stories. However, she has the uncanny ability to calm me down just by being in my presence and she’s distractingly fluffy.

Pixie – Sophie Perkins

This is Pixie and to be quite honest, she’s a bit ditzy. For example, whenever I take her out for a walk she has this thing where she’ll start walking sideways to look back at me. It’s strange but also hilariously funny and adorable. I’ve grown up around having dogs and in a weird way, Pixie is something I can always rely on to make me feel better whenever I’m feeling down or stressed. She often acts like a “large” lap dog and always brings positive energy with her. She’s also a sense of calm and it’s always nice that in a way there’s always at least one thing rooting for you and looking up to you… even if it has four legs and a tail.

Coco – Danielle Rose Forder

Coco seems to know when I am sad and will always give me a cuddle. It’s nice to spend time with an animal because you don’t have to speak about your problems. You can just be in the moment and appreciate this amazing being. Coco is quite a chill cat and she’ll always let me stroke her unlike the rest of my family which makes it even more special. I have quite bad anxiety but she is genuinely the only thing that I will always go to and will be guaranteed to feel better afterwards because of it.

Words: Beth Graham, Storehouse Content Team, @beth_grahamm

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