Who loves you the most? Your wife or your dog? Try locking them both in the trunk of your car for an hour. When you let them out, see which one is the most glad to see you. As humans we dwell on the situation and bemoan the fact that things are not the way we want them to be. We dwell on the negative situation long after the situation is over and done with. We worry about the future, our finances, and all of the “what ifs” in our lives.
Dogs truly stay in the moment. The immediate needs of a good scratch, a walk, or a treat is in the forefront of their in-the-moment brains. When you come home, they are always glad to see you despite the fact that you previously yelled at them for tearing up a book or jumping up on the couch with muddy paws. When you reach the door, they revel in that moment, wagging their tails and greeting you with gusto.
There is a cartoon I use in our training where one man says to the other, “Do you dwell on the wasted years behind you or the terrifying years ahead?” It is so true that much of our stress comes from dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. But if we are mindful and stay in the moment, our stress levels are decreased and our satisfaction with life goes up. Mindfulness is about staying in the moment and observing each moment without judgment. This is not an easy thing. But when you can do this, your stress levels decrease because you are no longer worrying about the way things SHOULD be. You are just observing the way things are. Try practicing mindfulness for a day. If that’s too difficult, just be mindful at a meal. Enjoy your food using all of your senses and focus on the pleasure of eating. Once you experience the calm associated with mindful eating, you will be able to apply it to other parts of your life.