1. Forget about multi-tasking
A dog will be engaged and stay focused on whatever he’s doing, be it playing frisbee, peeing outside or sleeping. Those who juggle activities can’t concentrate fully or have difficulty memorizing. Concentrating on one task at a time is better because it allows you to gain focus and enter a flow state as you progress on the task.
2. Learn to nap
You won’t ever see your animal continuously awake from dawn till dusk. There’s a lot of proof that people can benefit from quick naps throughout the day. Short sleep breaks help you be more active throughout the day because your batteries will be charged.
3. Take yourself out for a walk
Regardless if you have two legs or four legs, walking is one of the easiest and most secure activities to burn excess calories and improving your health. Walking daily can also help you:
Lower the risk of type 2 diabetes
Lower the risk of breast cancer or colon cancer
Maintain bone strength
Keep a sharp mind
4. Cherish your relationships
People are social animals, just like dogs. Dogs travel in packs for their own survival. Australian scientists have monitored 1500 people for 10 years and discovered that people that had healthy relationships in their lives had a 22% lower chance of developing terminal illnesses than the people that didn’t have meaningful relationships.
5. Learn to live in the present
Enjoying the moment is one of the most important lessons that we can learn from dogs. A study called “Wandering mind, not a happy mind” conducted by Harvard psychologists concluded that people are the happiest when they keep their mind focused on one task, such as sex or playing music. Plans, reminiscing or thinking about something else than what you’re doing in the present can diminish the state of happiness and contentment.
6. Dogs don’t hold grudges
If you want to live in the present, it’s important that you leave the past where it belongs: in the past. Forgiving the people that have wronged you will set you free. Chronic resentment is a disease that affects your lungs while the power of forgiveness helps in lowering arterial pressure and reducing anxiety. Forgiving people tend to have a higher opinion of themselves.
7. Wiggle that tail
Alright, maybe you don’t have a tail, but you can smile and let your body express happiness when you feel grateful for the things around you. Think of the happiness that you see in a dog’s eyes and his wiggling tail when he’s reunited with a person he’s attached to.
8. Stay focused
If curiosity killed the cat, then could the dog be exempt from such a fate? Maybe. Did it kill the human? Sometimes, but we wouldn’t be where we are now if people hadn’t been curious. Curious people tend to have a better learning capacity. Studies have even shown a link between curiosity and balance. Curious people also find it easier to learn, because questions come naturally to them.
9. Be childish
There are many similarities between a dog and a child. They aren’t burdened by the responsibilities of adults. A dog is playful and can definitely lighten up your day. Childish playfulness is great for your heart and your overall well-being. Cardiologists from the University of Maryland have noticed a correlation between sense of humor and a healthy heart. Thus, they concluded that “laughter is one of the most effective treatment”, especially when it comes to your heart.
10. Get a massage
The power of touch is not to be ignored. Massage therapy can alleviate cramps, potentiate the immune system and help treat chronic ailments such as asthma or diabetes. The touch of a loved one has an even stronger effect. An experiment in which married women that were going to receive a small electric shock had lower levels of anxiety when they were being held by the hand by their significant other.
11. Drink water when you’re thirsty
Dogs don’t need energy drinks or other chemicals when they run a lot and neither should humans. When performing different physical exercises, water is the best solution to keep your body hydrated. Water is an essential part of life. Make sure to drink extra water when you’re engaged in physical exercises.
12. Unconditional love
Dogs don’t play hard to get. When they love you, they show it. This is solid advice for people that want to strengthen their relationships. A study that was published in Personal Relationship magazine suggests that small gestures can have a huge impact when it comes to connection and satisfaction in relationships.
13. Learn to play
Fooling around and whimsicality aren’t just for dogs and kids. Playfulness develops intelligence, creativity, the capacity to resolve problems as well as social abilities. If you find a productive way to play, like playing an instrument or playing tennis, you will be happier with your life.
14. Appreciate the outdoors
A walk around the park is a wonderful experience for most dogs, whereas humans take this simple and beautiful act for granted. Nevertheless, children that play outside a lot have been found to exhibit better long-distance eyesight, are more attentive to details and can easily memorize, thus raising school performance.
15. Read other people’s body language
Dogs excel at reading the intentions of other dogs through their body language. Humans think too much and have lost their ability to sense. It may be difficult to always read one’s emotion through their body language. People develop this skill as they get older.
16. Respect a fixed schedule
Dogs love the consistency of a schedule. Humans actually experience improved quality of sleep if they get into the habit of going to sleep and waking at the same hours, every day, even in the weekends. Respecting a schedule that consumes your energy over the course of a day will make it easier for you to go to sleep at night.
Troy works as a marketing specialist for Premierpups, a dog adoption service. Dogs bring him peace and helping them makes him feel fulfilled.