Thirteen Things We Can Learn From Our Pets

1. Forget Multitasking:
When dogs have a job to do, they give it their undivided attention. It turns out people should probably do the same. Stanford researchers found that attention and memory suffer in those who juggle work, email, and web-surfing, compared to those who focus on one task at a time. Other studies suggest employees actually lose time when multitasking.

2. Take Naps:
You don’t catch your pet going from dawn to dusk without any shut-eye. There’s good evidence humans can benefit from catnaps. Short naps can enhance alertness and job performance.

3. Walk Every Day:
Whether you’ve got four legs or two, walking is one of the safest, easiest ways to burn calories and boost heart health. Taking regular walks can also help you fight depression, lose weight, and keep your mind sharp.

4. Live in The Moment:
Living in the moment may be one of the most important lessons we can learn from our pets. In a study called ‘A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind’, Harvard psychologists conclude that people are happiest when doing activities that keep the mind focused.

5. Don’t Hold a Grudge:
Part of living in the moment is letting bygones be bygones. Let go of old grudges, and you’ll literally breathe easier. Chronic anger has been linked to a decline in lung function, while forgiveness contributes to lower blood pressure and reduced anxiety.

6. Drink Water When You Are Thirsty:
Dogs don’t lap up sports drinks when they’ve been playing hard – and most people don’t need to either. During a typical workout, drinking water is the best way to stay hydrated. Water gives your muscles and tissues critical fluid without adding to your calorie count. Be sure to drink more than usual on hot days or when you’re sweating a lot.

7. If You Love Someone, Show It:
Pets don’t play hard to get – when they love you, they show you. It’s a good approach for people seeking to strengthen their relationships. A study published in the Journal of Personal Relationships suggests small, thoughtful gestures can have a big impact on how connected and satisfied couples feel.

8. Play:
Goofing off is not just for kids and kittens. In his book, Play, Stuart Brown, MD, writes that playing is a basic human need along with sleeping and eating. Play enhances intelligence, creativity, problem-solving, and social skills. Take a cue from your pet and devote yourself to an activity that has no purpose other than sheer fun.

9. Enjoy the Great Outdoors:
A hike in the woods may be a dog’s idea of bliss, but it has plenty of benefits for the human mind and body, as well. Spending time outdoors can enhance fitness, increase vitamin D levels, and reduce stress.

10. Make Time To Groom:
Aside from the obvious health benefits of bathing and brushing your teeth, grooming can have a number of positive effects on your life. Good personal hygiene is vital to self-esteem. A tidy appearance can also help you get, and maintain, a job.

11. Be Aware of Body Language:
Dogs are excellent at reading each other’s intent from body language. Humans, not so much. While most of us do reveal our emotions through posture, speech patterns, and eye contact, other people generally aren’t very good at reading those cues.

12. Stretch Often:
Stretching will keep you limber, but the benefits don’t stop there. In a 10-week study, volunteers who did no exercise other than stretching experienced surprising physical changes. Besides improving flexibility, they increased their muscle strength, power, and endurance. Although the study was a small one, the results suggest stretching may be a good alternative for people who have a condition that rules out traditional strength-training.

13. Seek out Shade:
When you’re at the park or the beach, and your pooch is ready for a break, they will probably find a nice shady spot to relax. Dermatologists recommend you follow suit, especially between the hours of 10a.m. and 4p.m. That’s when you would soak up the most UV rays, particularly during late spring and early summer. While you’re sheltered in the shade, it’s a good idea to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen on exposed skin.