Whether you’ve got a cat, dog, rabbit, goat, mini pig, goldfish, or any other animal - you probably already know by now that pets offer us a plethora of positive emotional feedback. Butbeyond providing us with endless love, laughs, and joy, pets exemplify certain wisdom that we humans could benefit from. Here are five important mindful lessons our furry companions can teach us.
We humans tend to have several thoughts rattling around in our minds at all times. “Why hasn’t my friend called me back?” “What did my partner mean when they said that?” “Should I find a new job?” Animals, on the other hand, live in the moment. “I am walking with my favorite human,” they seem to be thinking. “Look, a stick! This grass smells good. Squirrel!”
While we’re not necessarily aiming for the short attention span, your pet’s be in the now, be present attitude is nothing to snuff at. Try to model the be-here-now nature of your pets through mindfulness - be present in what you’re doing, while you’re doing it, and lean into observation. Over time, thispractice will lead to decreased stress, increased productivity, joy, and contentment.
Have you noticed how your dog never seems to get tired of walking the same route? Or how your cat goes crazy over the same toy every day? Or how every time you feed your pets, they react as if it’s the first time they’ve ever seen food? Animals remind us that even though something may be routine, we should still take the time to appreciate that it’s a part of our lives. It’s about making the mundane feel new every day. After all, being happy comes down to focusing on what you have, rather than what you don’t.
One of the most respectable and heartwarming things about animals is that no matter how much suffering they’ve gone through, they can establish happiness, trust, and well-being with love and care. Animals don’t dwell on the past or hold on to anger. Instead, they turn their focus to the present moment and move forward with excitement and joy. That’s not to say that we humans shouldn’t feel anger or process our past emotions—doing so is natural and an essential part of the healing process. However, sometimes, it might be best to take a cue from our furry or scaley friends and place the past in the past.
As we get older and the demands of adult life take over, we tend to lose the curiosity we once had as kids. Animals, conversely, seem to have a never-ending supply of curiosity that helps them learn about their surroundings, maintain their safety, and keep themselves entertained.Research shows that in humans, curiosity can improve intelligence, relationships, and even happiness. This isn’t hard to believe when you consider that curiosity often leads to learning new things, meeting new people, and gaining new experiences. Just like your pets, always stay curious. You never know what door it might open up.
Many of us spend a lot of time comparing ourselves to others and wishing we were different in some way. Our pets, on the other hand, don’t care whether they’re big or small, long or short, fluffy or not. They charge headfirst into the world (and often to meet other animals like them, regardless of size, shape, or color). Just like your pets, learn to appreciate the legs that allow you to be active and the eyes that allow you to see the world. Pretending to be someone you’re not will result in a struggle journey to happiness; instead practicing acceptance of yourself, just as you are, will reap rewards.