Do you know why your dog is happier than you?

 

Dogs are our best friends because they are loyal, affectionate, and they seem to ‘get’ us the way no other animal does. During a stressful time of life or just after a long day of work there is nothing better than coming home to puppy cuddles. They’re always there to welcome us with kisses and wagging tails.

 

Have you ever wondered how dogs have such little control over their own lives and continue to be so happy? They depend on their humans for absolutely everything, food, water, shelter, and love. They sit, stay, and heel because we ask them to when they may want to run and jump. And yet, they continue to greet us everyday with smiles and kisses.

 

Dogs don’t need fancy cars and big houses to be happy. They are happy to just be. They are happy to live completely in the present, without dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. They are physically and mentally present with you. When they go to the park, they don’t worry about what comes after or what has happened before, they are just present. They take in the sights and smells and immerse themselves completely in their experience of that moment. Anyone to see my dog eat his meal will know that in that moment, there is nothing on his mind other than what’s in his bowl.

 

This is why our dogs are happier than us. Because they have mastered the art of mindfulness – of living in their present moment.

We struggle with happiness not because we have bills to worry about, but because we can’t stop thinking about them. Being mindful does not mean you can’t have worries or bad memories. Being mindful means engaging with the world outside of our thoughts and feelings, connecting with the people, places, and things that matter to us. Mindfulness is having a meal and focusing on the tastes, smells, and textures of that meal rather than on our phones and TVs.

 

How can we be more mindful?

We can bring ourselves out of our thoughts and feelings and into our present moment by:

  • Noticing our surroundings, things we can see, hear, touch, smell and taste.
  • -Spending time with our family and friends, giving them our full attention. Hear what they’re saying and share our life with them.
  • Giving our full attention to things we do, whether that’s brushing our teeth, eating, listening to music, or driving.
  • Notice when we’re getting caught up in difficult thoughts, feelings, and situations, and acting unlike the person we want to be. Taking a step back to gain perspective. Being the person our dogs think we are.

 

In my practice, I often bring my therapy dog with me because he is great at animal assisted therapy, that is helping my clients become more mindful. If we take a few minutes every day to be mindful, we may find ourselves almost as happy as our dogs.