10 Fabulous lessons dogs can teach us on how to be happy and content
Any animal lover would tell you that animals can teach us a lot of things, up to and including the meaning of life. We observe the life of our pets and since we can’t ask them how they actually feel and what they think about the universe and their place in it, we are free to speculate as much as we want. Many believe that dogs are our best friends – they give us unconditional love, they fill our days with joy, and they improve our health. Here’s what dogs can teach us about happiness, in the hope that you’ll learn these lessons.
1. It’s simple
See a pooch playing with a ball and you’ve seen utter and complete happiness. If you reflect on this, you’ll probably have a revelation: happiness lies in the simple things that give you joy. It’s not about making more money, it’s not about losing five pounds to get into that new dress you deliberately bought one size too small, and it’s not about coming on top of your class. It’s about doing a job you love that pays well, it’s about hiking, jogging, or weight training, because you love the feeling, and it’s about studying a subject you really love, that’s how simple it is.
2. It’s honest
Dogs can’t lie and they never try to hide their feelings like we do. You can immediately see when they’re happy or miserable, even if sometimes the misery is somewhat exaggerated. Dogs don’t care at all about what “people will say” about this or that, and they don’t care whether the time or place is right for them to express their happiness. Quite refreshing, isn’t it? If you could only imagine for a moment what it would be like if we were all a bit more honest and open about our feelings, the world would probably be a much better place, with a lot less misunderstanding and sadness.
3. It’s not about possessions
Many people foolishly love to own stuff. We more or less firmly believe that owning stuff will make us happier than the neighbour who owns less stuff. Whether it’s designer clothes instead of no-label ones, a faster car, a bigger house, a better coffee cup, a hard-cover book or a beautiful watch, we like possessions…But look at dogs: they have no possessions, except for the ones whose multi-millionnaire owners leave them everything to their last penny. Yet even these rich dogs have no concept of ownership, and that makes them much happier than us, because being unable to acquire stuff is one of the main reasons for us to feel miserable and unable to appreciate life’s beautiful moments.
4. It’s adventurous
Throw a dog a stick and it won’t think twice about running after it. We humans, on the other hand, think too much, and we analyze things all the time. When presented with an opportunity to do something exciting and enjoyable, most of us would immediately start weighing the pros and cons, the costs and the benefits. Sounds very sad and pathetic, doesn’t it? How about focusing on the pros and the benefits instead? Adopting a positive view of the world can be a daunting task but it definitely pays off by making you capable of enjoying a bigger part of your life.
5. It’s a shared emotion
Imagine telling a joke to a group of friends and nobody laughing. Awkward and down-putting, right? That’s how dogs feel when their humans fail to pick up on their happy vibes and share the emotion. In that they are in fact very much like small children. Happiness is greatest when it’s shared and given, and even the simple things can make a dog happy, such as just being around you; it really is no great of an effort to share in the joy and take a bit of that happiness for yourself. This is not selfish, it will only reinforce your dog’s happiness.
6. It’s about play
All work and no play is not a good thing, as well we know. We know the rule yet we don’t follow it because…Well, because there’s too much work to do. This is not a valid excuse, we’re sorry to say. When there is a will, there is a way, as another trite phrase goes, so find the will and find the way. Dogs are instinctual creatures, they’d take any chance to play, even if they’re working dogs. Follow their example, it’s a guarantee for happiness!
7. Carpe diem
Dogs live fast, they have no time to waste hesitating. That’s what we should do too, to be happier. Don’t waste too much time making a decision on an opportunity, because it may cease to exist while you’re thinking. Don’t postpone vacations, don’t avoid family gatherings, nor forget meetings with your friends. While it’s true that there are people who grow to an age old enough to make them tired of life, for most it seems that life’s always too short. So, why waste time on planning happiness instead of experiencing it?
How to be happy and content? Do you have other tips?