So, how can your dog help you with mental health by practicing gratitude?
You know that one of the ways to a healthy mind and body is through gratitude.
In my previous blog, I talked about the reasons why having a dog is good for your mental health, but now I want to talk about the chores and responsibilities of owning a dog and the fact that it’s not all roses and sunshine.
There are a lot of things that we, as dog owners, have to do no matter what.
Like the fact we are obligated to go for a walk even if we’re tired or don’t have time for that, we have to pick up poop after our dogs, and the fact that we have to clean our apartment more often than people without dogs.
Here are simple ways to learn how to practice daily gratitude with your dog and improve your health.
What does mental health means for you and your dog?
According to MentalHealth.gov, “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.”
The same is for your dog.
So if your dog has good mental health, he is basically a “good dog”. He is emotionally stable, kind, and social.
The most common mental health issues for dogs are anxiety, aggression, and depression.
To avoid these kinds of problems and to maintain a mentally healthy dog you have to train him, maintain a routine, avoid stress, play a lot, and so on.
Here are a few mental stimulation games for your dog to keep him healthy.
A few posts to help you care for your dog’s mental health:
- Mental Health In Dogs: 5 Easy Ways To Care For Your Dog
- Mental stimulation for dogs: 5 DIY toys and exercises for dog’s brain stimulation
- 9 Ways How To Show Your Dog You Love Them In Their Language
- 15 Natural Ways How To Keep Your Dog Healthy And Live Longer
Dog effect on your mental health
As I mentioned in my previous blog, dogs do help a lot when it comes to your mental health.
They give us that unconditional love everybody seeks. Your dog is that friend that will always be there for you, that friend who will always listen to you and will always be by your side whether you want it or not.
- Dogs help you exercise;
- Your dog gives you a reason to get up early in the morning;
- They reduce your stress level and anxiety;
- Dogs help to lower your blood pressure;
- Dogs make you feel worthy;
- The dog always greets you when you arrive home;
- Dogs give you unconditional love;
- They are the best companions;
- Dogs help you to meet new people;
- Dogs are up for cuddles and kisses.
More about these things and the reasons why having a Dog Is Good For Your Mental Health you can read in this blog.
If you’re a big dog lover and want to work with animals here are Interesting Careers To Choose From For Dog Lovers.
Practice daily gratitude with your dog and improve your mental health
So what does it means to practice daily gratitude with your dog?
To be in a healthy state of mind we should practice gratitude every day and owning a dog can make this process even more heart-warming.
Even in those days when you feel like everything is up against you and nothing seems to work out, being thankful for the little things that your dog gives you helps to appreciate the small things.
And practicing daily chore gratitude can make you see everything in a different way.
Practicing daily gratitude
According to Harvard Health Publishing, “Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. … Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
This way of giving thanks to something that’s already in your life helps to appreciate simple things.
Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.
Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis:
- Write a thank-you note;
- Thank someone mentally;
- Keep a gratitude journal;
- Count your blessings;
How to include your dog in your daily gratitude?
Whatever you feel like appreciating write it down or say it out loud.
There’s practically anything your dog does that you can be grateful for.
We can admit that we’re very grateful for them being in our lives, that they fill our days with joy and happiness, and that they are always together with us.
Here are some gratitude examples:
- I’m grateful for keeping me worm at night;
- I’m grateful I get to walk more on everyday basis;
- Thank you for dog kisses every day;
- I’m grateful for making me smile when you do something goofy;
- I’m grateful you help me decrease my stress level every day.
You can think of your own things you are the most grateful for.
But what about the difficult moments?
Everyday chores can be difficult at times, but with the right attitude and gratitude, it changes the whole meaning.
Dog chores of gratitude for a better mental health:
- Cleaning up a puppy accident on the carpet – I’m grateful my puppy is healthy; I’m grateful my puppy is learning; I’m grateful my puppy is part of my family.
- Cleaning up my dog’s poop – I’m grateful my dog has a healthy GI system; I’m grateful my dog has a place to potty; I’m grateful my dog humbles me.
- Walking my dog several times a day – I’m grateful my dog keeps me active; I’m grateful my dog is active; I’m grateful my dog gets me connected to nature.
- Brushing my dog – I’m grateful to feel my dog’s fur and know he/she’s healthy; I’m grateful my dog and I get time to bond with brushing; I’m grateful for how great my dog looks when brushed.
- Feeding my dog – I’m grateful my dog eats and likes food; I’m grateful my dog lets me know when it’s dinnertime; I’m grateful my dog’s food keeps him/her healthy.
- Washing my dog – I’m grateful for a clean dog; I’m grateful for how my dog runs with joy when clean; I’m grateful for the shaking of a clean, wet dog.
Mental health is equally important for you and your dog.
To get a healthy mindset you need to work on your mind and practicing gratitude is one of the ways how to get your mind in the right space.
Practicing gratitude can give you many benefits that together with owning a dog make a great combination.
Try to see negative things in a positive way and be grateful for them, because every little thing counts.