In case you ever wondered what it would take to live a life filled with happiness and joy despite what your life has been like up until now, how the day is tracking today, or what the future may hold, then look no further than your dog.
Let’s face it, we’ve all had days where we feel down in the dumps, lack motivation, or just wish that our lives were different because of the struggles that seem to clutter our lives. Granted, some people seem to experience these things more frequently than others but there’s a reason for that which we’ll get to later.
After thinking about what it means to be happy all the time and more importantly what it would take to enjoy more happiness in my life it struck me that my dog Harry seemed to have it down to a fine art. This nineteen-pound ball fuzzball is the most joyful creature I have ever seen. He lives in a constant state of playfulness and delight.
Not only that, it doesn’t matter whether I’m gone for five minutes, five hours, or five days, when I come back from being away his greeting is always one of sheer pleasure. Deducing that Harry obviously was onto something that I wasn’t privy to, I decided to study his attitudes and activities in the hope that I, too, might one day be as consistently happy as him.
Some Interesting Insights on Happiness
After observing Harry for several weeks it occurred to me that the key to his happy-go-lucky nature is that he lives entirely in the here and now. He has no sense of the past or future, and he is fully present with what is happening.
He may not always be jumping for joy happy, but even when he’s quiet you won’t find him wallowing in self-pity over one of his toys being destroyed by another dog, or the fact that it was raining all day and didn’t get to go for a walk.
Instead, Harry finds joy in the small things such as being cuddled and having chasing pretty much anything that you will throw for him (which by the way he never get’s tired of), going for a drive in the car, or even just chilling out in his bed while I’m working away on my computer.
One of the really cool things about Harry is that he doesn’t get upset if you get home late from somewhere, or carry a grudge if some deadline wasn’t met – unlike what happens in so many human relationships. He’s also always happy to eat what he’s given and never gets tired of walking to the same park in the afternoon.
What I realized about Harry really taking the time to watch and observe his behaviour is that he totally lives in the moment. His love for life and attitude of unconditional friendship is something that many people could learn a thing or two from, I know I certainly did.
Living in the moment is simple, we just need to give ourselves a little headspace every now and then from getting too caught up in the past or the future. When we allow the past to influence how we think and feel about ourselves or the world around us at any given moment, then we get caught up in reactive behaviour instead of staying responsive to the moment.
Living in the moment enables us to step back from our past conditioning around what we think and feel in reaction to external triggers and instead make a choice on how we want to think and feel. We can’t always be in control of what happens in our lives but we can certainly be in control of how we handle things.
Here’s How to be as Happy as Your Dog
By learning to train the mind to be more present focused and less reactive to the past or future, we can all be as happy as our dogs, or at least have the choice on how we want to respond to anything that happens in our lives.
In fact, you can try it out for yourself today.
- Start looking for the fun and joy in things and forget about what anyone else may think about what you’re doing.
- Greet everyone that comes through your front door as if it’s the best thing that’s happened to you all day.
- Stop complaining about people or things you can’t change and find happiness in the simple things in life such as waking up in the morning, going for a walk in the afternoon, eating a yummy meal, or catching up with friends.
- Drop being negative about anything, and instead look for the positive in everyone and everything.
- Find a way to keep your heart open no matter how much pain may have happened in the past and always be willing to go for what you want with all the gusto you can muster, no matter how big or small it may be.
Finally, spend ten minutes in the morning focusing on what you are grateful for in your life. This helps to develop an attitude of gratitude which puts out a mental and emotional energy to the world around you that you are thankful for your life – and just like Harry, when you love your life, life will send you plenty more to be happy about.
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Michael Atma’s Blog
“I Teach You how to live a Happier, Healthier and More Fulfilling Life at Home, Work or Play!”
PS: If You want some free training on how to have more Calm, Clarity and Focus in just 5 minutes of Mindfulness a day, this is the course you should start with – Focus 5 Mindfulness Training Course
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