Take tips from your dog

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Last week I wrote about my thoughts on giving meditation a try and what I’m liking about it (and the things I don’t like). Well, this week’s post is kind of linked to the same topic. We can learn a lot from a dog and in this post I tell you why.

I know not everyone has dogs, but you can still learn from them.

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When I did my NHS mindfulness for chronic pain course a few years ago, we were talking in one of the sessions and I started explaining how one day I’d been taking my dog for a walk and was practicing my mindfulness techniques: listening to the sounds, taking in the smells, really looking at the physical things around me, and just being as present as I can be. And I suddenly realised this is what my dog was doing. Everyone in the group – whether they had a dog or not – just seemed to get what I meant.

I think we can take tips from dogs and start to do more of the things they do to help us cope with our chronic pain.

Dogs are in the moment

Dogs are very much present creatures. They focus on the here and now; they don’t worry about the future; or stress about the past.

Stress and anxiety are a huge part of modern life, and both are common features of having chronic pain. If we don’t manage our stress and anxiety properly, it can make our pain worse. We need to learn to live more in the present, like dogs do. Meditation can really help with this.

Dogs get the right amount of sleep

Dogs sleep a lot. It’s a huge part of their lives and they need that sleep. Granted, we don’t need as much sleep as dogs, but we do need to get enough sleep, and the right quality of sleep.

I was listening to the Deliciously Ella Podcast episode Why We Sleep with Matthew Walker (he wrote the book of the same title) and learned just how important sleep is for us.

Have a listen to the podcast and you’ll see why! (I am not affiliated with Deliciously Ella, I just love the podcasts and learn so much each time I listen to them.)

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Dogs don’t care if they make a mistake

I have two Westies, and one of them is very clumsy. He often runs in to the furniture when playing with his toys, or trips up on his walk (I often have no idea how he does this), or doesn’t catch the treat I throw to him. He doesn’t care though, nor is he embarrassed or worried about what others think. He just carries on as if nothings has happened.

Alice and her two Westies by a river in Scotland
Me and my two Wesites

Us humans tend to dwell on things and worry what others think far too much. I am extremely guilty of this and through my daily meditation practice, I am hoping to calm my mind and learn to refocus my thoughts.

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Blog title Pinterest image Alice walking in the woods
Blog title Pinterest image Alice using a tablet by a window with a view

Dogs enjoy the little things

Dogs enjoy the little things. They have fun on a walk, when eating, when playing, when chasing their tails, and when in company of those they love.

I’ve often talked on my blog about being grateful and appreciating the little things in life. This can really help us learn to think differently about things and see more of the good stuff than the bad.

Dogs don’t multitask

Dogs do one thing at a time and they focus on that one task – they won’t be thinking about another task while doing what they’re doing. It goes back to being in the present.

Your thoughts

Do you have a dog? Does this post make sense to you?

How else can we learn from dogs to help ourselves?

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3 thoughts on “Take tips from your dog

  1. Invisibly Me says:

    You know what, you are absolutely right! I sometimes catch myself thinking “we should be more like….” and filling the blank with either animals of some description or children. All the points you’ve mentioned, like being in the moment, prioritising sleep and for me the big one is having more fun and enjoyment and not over-stressing about every little thing. We really can learn a lot from our furry companions, dogs know how to live well! xx

  2. Despite Pain says:

    I LOVE this post. Yes, dogs get it right. I don’t have a dog just now. We lost our gorgeous boy two years ago, and haven’t been able to get another since. But everything you said is spot on. He needed to sleep, he slept, he searched out for that little glimpse of sunshines coming in through the curtains, he just loved life and was so happy with the smallest things. Yes, we should be more like dogs.

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