It is said that you either love dogs, or you’re a psychopath. Dramatic as it may be, love them or not, dogs are one of the most loyal companions humans will ever have by their side. They are not only cuteness overload but are also lovable, loyal, and dependable. Although they aren’t necessarily an image for the wise on the surface, if you mindfully watch how they go about life, there’s a ton of value to derive from them.
Here are a few great lessons about life from dogs.
1. Live In The Present
Generally, animals don’t care about the future or past regrets. They take each moment and each day exactly as it comes. This approach is something that people are yet to master, but a highly beneficial one. You have no control over the past, and you can only control the future, to a certain extent, if at all, so loosen up and enjoy what is presently available and under your control.
2. Go With The Flow
Almost 100% of the time, dogs have no idea where they’re heading to when they get in the car for a ride. But that doesn’t stop them from being 100% excited about it. They bring the same level of enthusiasm to both. For them, the journey is just as remarkable as the destination. Humans tend to place too much focus on the target, forgetting to enjoy the journey and the little moments that come with it. Setting goals and being focused is an essential component to a successful life, but at the same time, do not let it deter you from savoring the process as well.
3. Be Yourself
A dog doesn’t care if you like his particular breed, color, or whatever else. They are who they are. If they want to roll foolishly on the grass or run excitedly inside a pool for a swim, they do just that. They’re happy, and they aren’t afraid to express it. People tend to approach life a little differently. They get consumed with fear of what others think of them, which makes them hesitant to undertake activities that they inherently enjoy. Fall in love with every bit of your personality. It will increase your self-confidence, and you’ll have more fun. Don’t forget that in the long run, you’re the only one who is stuck with you for life. Therefore, live it to the truest expression of yourself.
4. Use Your Intuition
How many situations have you gotten yourself into that gets you thinking, in hindsight, that you had a feeling about it all along? Well, dogs would never be caught in similar situations willingly. They follow their instincts about everything. Human beings have the same ability in the form of intuition. Intuition is that mysterious, illogical force that compels you to do, or not do, something or to trust, or not trust someone or a situation. Not a lot of people have mastered the art of listening to it, but the more you practice trusting your intuition, the better compass you have in life. Even though that inner voice often comes in whispers, it’s always worth a listen.
5. Be A Loyal Person
You cannot mention the word “loyalty” without thinking of dogs. No animal is as loyal as the domesticated dog. Once they believe you are their person, that’s it. They will be there for you and with you through thick and thin and will defend you at all costs. That’s as loyal as loyal gets. Unfortunately, loyalty is not a common human virtue. When put to the test, very few people remain faithful. While you can’t control other people’s devotion, you can manage your own. Don’t just create a facade of a trustworthy person for the sake of personal advantage — live life as a quality person who has depth and can be trusted by your loved ones.
6. Choose Forgiveness Every time
Sometimes you might not do right by your dog. When you’re having a bad day, you might end up lashing out or mistreating them. Nevertheless, they never hold it against you. They may retreat for a little while, but as soon as you sermon them back to you once again, they’ll come back prancing and wagging around their tail ready to please you like nothing ever happened. Holding grudges is not in their nature, and they’re always willing to give you an infinite number of chances. Holding hard feelings and grudges weighs you down emotionally and can even affect you physically as it links to your immune system. It’s not worth it. Choose to forgive, forget, be happy, and move on with life.
7. Love Unconditionally
No matter what mood you come in with through the door, your fur baby will greet you with all the excitement in the world. Even when you chase them away, they will patiently wait for you to be ready to hang out with them again. It’s a difficult undertaking to love unconditionally, but surely, the world would be a better place if everyone practiced loving each other through both good and bad days.
8. Incorporate Some Play Into Your Life
Dogs love to play for exercise and pure enjoyment. In the name of being mature or the interpretation of maturity by society, people stop playing when they reach a certain age. Being an adult translates to all work, seriousness, and no play. Incorporating some play and silliness into daily routines has various benefits. It keeps burnout at bay, re-ignites creativity, makes us feel better emotionally, and overall, improves our relationships with ourselves and others. So go on, add some playful time to your day.
9. Stretch Your Body
It’s common to see dogs instinctively stretch their limbs now and then when getting up. As a matter of fact, the famous yoga pose, downward facing dog, comes from a dog’s stretch. Humans spend a considerable chunk of time sitting down hunched on devices, which negatively impacts the body leading to rigid and tense muscles. Adopting regular stretching keeps the muscles flexible and healthy. Yogis also advise that this particular pose, downward facing dog, is excellent for reenergizing and rejuvenating the entire body.
10. Spend Time In Nature
To a dog, everything interesting happens outside, and rightfully so. Dogs enjoy interacting with their environment, from prancing on ocean water to frolicking on grass to smelling/peeing on trees. People are also animals with the same basic need. Regular interaction with nature is essential for wellness and mental health. It reduces stress and is a tremendous emotional and physical boost.
You could argue that dogs don’t have the same emotional capabilities that humans do, but it doesn’t change the fact that there is a lot to appreciate and learn in how they move through life. They go through it carefree and live it authentically. It is as if they inextricably know how short and fragile it is. They’re happy, faithful, forgiving, engage their muscles, and interact with mother nature often. And more importantly, they trust the process.
So, to the over-thinkers and worriers, the compulsive planners and anxiety-ridden, take a cue from your furry friends and relax. Take the time to smell the roses, feel the rain, and enjoy the ride.