Have you ever looked over at your dog laying on his/her bed doing apparently nothing, and wondered: what are they thinking about?
The answer is most likely: nothing!
See, dogs (and cats) are masters in mindfulness and they can teach us so much.
Only one moment: the here and now!
Dogs live fully in the present moment. Unlike us, they do not ruminate or worry about the past or the future. That is unless they’re a beagle, in which case, they’re probably thinking about their next dinner!
All jokes aside, dogs and cats are very mindful by nature and they can also help us interrupt our constant stream of thoughts.
You might think that a dog demanding your time is annoying, but it’s actually a great way to focus your attention on the present moment, getting out of your internal mental clutter and back to reality.
Try this short meditation with your pet
- Put away your phone and find a comfortable position, sitting or lying, with your pet close by.
- Tune into your senses in the present moment, by paying attention to the touch of your pet’s fur or listening to the sounds your pet makes (how soothing is a cat's purr or a dog's snore?).
- Watch the gentle rise and fall of your pet's belly as they rest or sleep by your side.
- Remain like this for 10 min or more.
Focusing on one task
Pets do not multitask!
In fact, they can concentrate on one activity (playing fetch or chasing birds) and shut out every other distraction.
They throw themselves completely into everything they do.
In a world where multitasking is admired, be more like your dog and focus on accomplishing one task at a time. We promise, it won’t take you any more time.
When we multitask, we do too many things at once, our attention is split and we end up doing everything half-heartedly.
Compassion & being silly
Our pets are great at making us practice compassion, by caring for another being but also self-compassion.
Dogs don’t care about what their body looks like!
Masters at body positivity? We think so!
Pets are comfortable being themselves and place no judgment on each other's appearance.
They love us unconditionally, regardless of how we look.
But they’re also awesome at reminding us that life is supposed to be fun and enjoyable!
Don’t sweat the small stuff and invite more moments of joy into your life.
What is mindfulness anyway?
Mindfulness is the ability to consciously pay attention to the present moment. It’s the ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we're doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed.
Now tell me you didn’t think about your pet when reading this definition?
They have mastered the art of mindfulness and give us a daily example of living in the present moment, even pulling us out of our routines (or zoom meetings) just to play!
Because mindfulness is also accepting, being curious and open about the present situation.
Dogs and cats reduce our stress
Our pets teach us about mindfulness, but did you know they also help lower our stress levels?
Studies have shown that interacting with pets increases our oxytocin level and decreases our cortisol level!
This means that playing with your dog or cat makes you happier by secreting a dose of endorphins- the happy hormones.
Our domesticated companions are also keen observers of our emotions and can sense when we’re not feeling our best.
5 ways your dog can bring more mindfulness into your life
- Anytime your dog begs for attention or distracts you from what you’re doing, instead of becoming irritated, take this opportunity to pull yourself into the present moment. This is your chance to practice mindfulness!
- Next time you're mindlessly scrolling on your phone and your dog comes to join you, make the conscious decision to put your phone aside and take a mindful moment with your pet.
- You know the doggy adage: if you can’t eat it, or play with it, then just pee on it and walk away. Don’t sweat the small stuff!
- Practice gratitude. Our pets are champions at being grateful. As long as they have food, a warm bed and affection, they are happy.
- Anytime you see your dog or cat perform a big stretch, take it as your reminder to get up from your desk and do a big stretch yourself. Doesn’t need to be downward dog! Just raise your arms above your head and stretch them from side to side.
So what do you think? Will you let your dog teach you about mindfulness this year?
Want to be the first to get your paws onto the hottest topics? Subscribe to our newsletter!
The Doggy Grub blog is dedicated to helping dogs and their owners achieve happier, healthier lives, changing the way we feed our dogs one bowl at a time! If you would like to know more about our fresh food head to Doggy Grub