7 Life Lessons I Learned From My Dog

What does your dog mean to you? If you’re like most dog-owners, your dog is probably an integral part of your family with her own distinct personality traits. Maybe she refuses to go outside in the rain, or perhaps she barks incessantly at the squirrels she watches from the window. You are probably intimately acquainted with her superficial traits, but when is the last time you took a closer look at some of the deeper wisdom she has to offer? Even if some of her personality quirks seem a bit odd, chances are good that she has some valuable life lessons to teach you if you are willing to look closely enough.

7 Life Lessons From Dogs

1. Embrace Playtime
Dogs love to play. Whether they’re going for a long walk, playing fetch in the yard, or simply playing with their favorite toy in the living room, playtime is an important part of their daily schedule. While human children play a great deal, we tend to play less and less as we mature. Play is incredibly beneficial for the soul, however; incorporating playtime into our adult lives may greatly improve our emotional and mental well-being.

2. Accept Yourself Just The Way You Are
Dog species come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors – yet all dogs love and accept themselves just the way they are. Can you imagine a miniature dachshund envying the long legs of a greyhound? The thought seems ridiculous when taken in this perspective, but humans consistently try to adopt the physical traits of people from different races and ethnicities. Stop trying to conform to a different culture’s idea of “beautiful,” and embrace your appearance just the way it is.

3. Allow Love To Conquer All
If you have ever spent time around a rescue dog, you have likely witnessed first-hand the healing power of a love. Dogs who come from animal shelters or puppy mills often have emotional scars, but time and again they are overcome when they find themselves in a loving, supportive home. Recovering from emotional scars is rarely easy, but it can be done when you allow yourself to open up to the support others offer.

4. Live In The Moment
What happens when you fail to live in the moment? Dwelling on the past typically breeds frustration and regret, and antagonizing about the future typically breeds anxiety and stress. Staying in the moment is the only way to handle the situation in an effective – and fun! – manner. Dogs don’t stress over their to-do list for tomorrow or agonize over a poor decision they made yesterday. They simply embrace the moment and enjoy it to its full potential.

5. Be A Pack Animal
Dogs are pack animals through and through. No matter what they’re doing – eating, sleeping, playing, wrestling – they do it with their pack. They are fiercely loyal and always dependable. Humans are generally social creatures by nature, and embracing the “pack animal” lifestyle fosters love, happiness, and contentment. Don’t force yourself to live a solitary lifestyle if it doesn’t make you happy.

6. Love Unconditionally
Dogs never hold grudges, and they love with everything they have. You will never see a dog begrudge you for neglecting to give him a treat after dinner or staying late at work. No matter how long it’s been since he’s seen you, he will jump for joy that you have returned. While we humans often think we hold grudges to get back at those who have offended us, the truth is that the grudge hurts ourselves far more than it ever hurts our intended victims. Forgiving, forgetting, and loving unconditionally is an enormously important aspect of emotional and mental health.

7. Embrace Touch
Dogs connect through physical touch. Pets, belly rubs, and snuggles are often at the top of their favorites list. Physical touch releases endorphins that work wonders at boosting moods, but in our busy adult lives, it often gets pushed to the back burner. We may get so rushed in our day-to-day schedules that we only have time for a quick, hurried kiss on our way out the door – but that’s not enough to reap the emotional and psychological benefits that physical touch provides. Take time for a longer hug, a deeper kiss, or a brief shoulder rub. You might be surprised what a difference it makes.

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