8 Ways Owning a Dog Can Make You a More Mindful Person
In an overly stressed-out society where anxiety runs high, schedules are jam-packed and people wear “busy” as a badge of honor, chances are you can use a little mindfulness in your life.
Mindfulness is the state of calm awareness you experience when you’re grounded in the present moment instead of mentally kicking yourself for that comment you made yesterday in the staff meeting. Becoming a more mindful person has a laundry list of positive effects on both mind and body, including decreased stress and anxiety, less emotional reactivity and improved memory and focus.
There are plenty of sources you can tap into that can help you become more present, but there’s one source you might not have thought of, and it’s already living in your home: your dog.
“They calm and focus us outside our thoughts and worries,” says Dr. Liz Stelow, Chief of Service at UC Davis Clinical Animal Behavior Service. “They trigger the release of chemical signals that make us feel better. They get us out for exercise. They keep us company. They allow us to discuss our darkest secrets without judgment.”
In other words, they get us out of our heads and into the now.
“The biggest thing our pets have to offer us is the ability to get out of our ego mind and get in the present moment,” says Dr. Dennis Thomas, holistic veterinarian and author.
So how, exactly, does owning a dog help you become a more mindful person?