Important Life Lessons From a Dog
What does it feel like to think like a dog? I am sure it would feel pretty good! I am also sure that if people would adopt a dog's philosophy of life, there would be less depression, unhappiness, mental anguish, and even suicides. Several times I look at my dogs and try to put myself in their minds. While I may never get the exact sensation of what it feels like to be a dog, the vibes I get are all positive.
The benefits of thinking like a dog are so strikingly evident that even looking at your dog can help you feel better. A study conducted by M. Nagasawa et. al. found that levels of oxytocin rise when a dog gazes at its owners. For those not aware of what oxytocin is, it is a "feel good" hormone associated with social bonding. Owners whose dogs looked at them longer or more frequently had significantly higher levels of oxytocin compared to owners whose dogs gazed for shorter periods of time. Quite an interesting study that demonstrates another interesting facet of how dog ownership benefits humans!
Important Life Lessons From a Dog
So what does it feel like to be a dog? What life lessons can dogs give to humans? While dogs cannot read, do not lecture, and are incapable of obtaining a college degree, there are many principles dogs know much better than humans. These principles do not apply to frivolous topics such as getting richer, obtaining success, or winning a lottery. These principles apply to life and feeling good about it. Let's hear them directly from a dog's mouth.
- Live in the present: Take life as it comes, enjoy the moment, seize the day. Life is in the present, not in the future or in the past. If you look at me, I do not worry about those bills piling up, that upcoming meeting, or the Wall Street predicaments. Don't call me irresponsible, I am just a dog appreciating the moment, as the moment is now and not yesterday nor tomorrow.
- Enjoy the little things in life: Just look at me; it is very likely I am either enjoying the feeling of grass on my feet, the warmth of a crackling fire, or the comfort of your hand caressing my head. Life is good! There are so many things in life that make me happy! If you follow my lead, you will see things as if wearing a pair of pink sunglasses! Every day as the sun rises, loads of things happen that make me happy! Just your presence, the comfort of food, romping in the grass, and enjoying the sun are enough to make my day!
- Embrace each day as it unveils: Did you ever see me wake up grumpy? Unless I am sick, it's very likely you will see me wagging my tail, doing my happy dance, and embracing each day with much enthusiasm. Because I live in the present and enjoy all the little things in life, I look forward to start each day in celebration of life.
- Be an opportunist: As a dog, it is in my nature to see opportunities everywhere. Did you see how fast I got a hold of that slice of bread that fell from the counter? See how I quickly jolt out the door that leads to the yard? You hardly see me second thinking if you give me the chance! As dogs, we do what is reinforcing to us being good or bad. You should also learn how to reap the rewards of life as fast as you can. Remember that the moment is gone if you do not take opportunities as they unveil before your eyes!
- Forgive and live on: As much as we love life and humans, there are some people that get upset with us and attempt to hurt us. Despite this, we forgive and live on. Despite being scared and intimidated, we wait for that special look or specific sign that the worst is over, to greet our masters, and start everything all over. We can really be friends again and will not hold resentment!
These are just a few principles dogs offer us each day. The positive attitudes of dogs is also what makes them ideal for making people feel better. This is why many dogs are used a form of therapy in many clinics and children's hospitals. Just a glance at these dogs is all it takes to brighten your day and make everything feel better. So take off that grumpy face and celebrate life as dogs do every day!