I hope you don’t think this is weird, but there are lizards scattered all around my house. No, not live ones, but cute little critters who serve a very real purpose – to remind me of the balmy tropics.

Nestled amongst my hodgepodge of island decor you’ll spot these:

  • A little stuffed multi-colored lizard basking on a coffee table
  • A huge colorful metal lizard leaning against a wall
  • A heavy iron sculptured lizard guarding the living room floor
  • A tiny pewter lizard parked on a thin slab of decorative rock
  • A dark green plaster lizard propped on the fireplace mantle
  • A black lizard refrigerator magnet hiding in a drawer (broken)
  • An art print of a heap of lizards on our website

I started collecting lizards inadvertently without really thinking about it. Kind of an ode to some of the tropical locations we’ve visited through the years.

Thinking about my lizards made me curious about the real-life crawly creatures. So I decided to educate myself a little. Some interesting lizard facts:

  • There are nearly 3,800 species. (Wow!)
  • They are reptiles (like snakes), but they typically have limbs and external ears. (Ears?!?)
  • Lizards are cold-blooded and, depending on the species, can range in size from a few inches to ten feet.
  • Most communicate with body language or bright colors on their bodies as well as pheromones. (A chemical signal.)
  • Vision, including color, is particularly acute in most lizards.
  • Most species are harmless to humans. Only two species of lizard are venomous: the Gila Monster and the Beaded Lizard.
  • Only the very largest (Komodo Dragon) has been known to stalk, attack and kill humans. (Yikes!)
  • Unlike other lizards, geckos can vocalize with a true voice.
  • Like snakes, lizards have a Jacobsen’s organ (instead of a nose), and they smell by “tasting” the air.
  • Lizards love to bask in the sun – often to their peril.

And here’s the most interesting fact of all . . .

The tail of some lizards separates from their body (called autotomy) when the lizard is grabbed. The tail that is left behind wriggles, confusing the other animal. This defense gives the lizard time to escape. Another tail will grow back, but it will be shorter and a different color.

In other words, they shed their tail when they’re stressed!

Wouldn’t it be great if we could do the same thing? No, not lose a body part. But shed our stress whenever we’re feeling overwhelmed. Just like the lizard sheds a tail.

Well, we can!

Whenever you feel the strain and pressure of anxiety starting to invade your life and permeate your body, try this exercise:

  • Close your eyes and notice how all your stress and tension is weighing you down.
  • Picture all of that stress flowing to your back and forming a gigantic “stress” rock or boulder.
  • Breathe deeply as you consciously feel the massive weight of this heavy burden.
  • Now imagine the “rock” of stress slowly and effortlessly sliding down to the ground behind you.
  • Feel yourself stand up straighter and taller with confidence and relief.
  • Open your eyes and inhale deeply. Slowly exhale deeply.
  • Feel pounds lighter, refreshed, exhilarated!

I knew I loved lizards for a reason (in addition to the tropical connection, of course!) Now, when I’m feeling tense and anxious, I’m going to act like a lizard. I’m going to leave my stress on the ground and make a quick getaway!

You might want to scatter a few lizards around your house too. Use them as simple reminders to act like a lizard and regularly shed your worries.

It takes practice to manage the stress in our lives. Doing little things like this, crazy as it may sound, helps us to keep An Island Perspective – a peaceful and tranquil state of mind.

How do you remind yourself to “shed” your stress?