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10 Reasons Why A Dog Can Make Your Life So Much Better

10 Reasons Why A Dog Can Make Your Life So Much Better

Dog owners will readily tell you about the special bond they have with their pet, a bond which brightens their day. This element of companionship is important but there is a myriad of ways your dog can keep you happy and healthy.

Better Cardiovascular Health

It’s vital to walk your dog every day, sometimes more than once, and this can have positive health benefits both for you and him. Increased exercise leads to lower blood pressure and better cardiovascular health. A study in Canada found that dog owners walked for 300 minutes per week compared to 168 minutes for their non-dog owning peers.

Lowers Stress

A further positive effect on blood pressure is the calming effect that dogs have on their owners. Petting your dog reduces stress and sends a rush of feel-good hormones into your bloodstream. Serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin, the hormone connected with falling in love, are all released. No wonder dog owners are more laid back about life!

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Offers Connection

We as humans all crave connection and a dog fulfills this need in two ways. First, there is the owner’s sense of companionship with the dog. Dogs are not known as ‘man’s best friend’ for nothing; and many owners sense that with their dog beside them that they can weather life’s storms. However, on a practical level dogs also foster better relationships between people. You are more likely to make connections with others when you are walking your dog as a dog encourages interaction and breaks down barriers.

Lifts Mood

Because of the connection you have with your pet a dog is also likely to help alleviate low moods. When you have to care for your dog, it can give you a sense of purpose, even in the bleakest times, and there is again that sense of connection with another living being.

Raises Immunity

Another benefit of owning a dog is that they can boost our immunity. If a baby is raised in a house with a dog, they show fewer tendencies towards allergies, asthma, colds and ear infections during childhood. This immunity boosting advantage needs to start early. The biggest benefit is seen in children who started living with a dog before they reached 6 months of age.

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Work for Us

Dogs are also a huge boon in many professions. There are dogs who work with the police; customs; rescue services; and even with the armed forces. They put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve.

In a domestic setting dogs are also helping people as service and therapy dogs. There are those who are trained to help people with disabilities; some who can recognize imminent epileptic seizures; and even those who can detect a drop in someone’s blood sugar which could trigger a diabetic coma if action isn’t taken. Dogs now even enter the classroom. It has been found that children with autism and their peers relate better when a trained dog is present.

Life Saving

A dog’s nose is tens of thousands of times more sensitive to odors than our own and this gives them a unique ability in the fight against cancer. Research is being carried out in this area with dogs being used to detect lung and prostate cancer in urine samples. In 2015 the first cancer-detecting dogs were approved for an NHS medical trial with the charity Medical Detection Dogs starting a study in Milton Keynes University Hospital.

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Great in the Workplace

Dogs really can offer benefits wherever they go and when dogs are present in the workplace employees report lower stress levels. This has the effect of increasing productivity and reducing absenteeism, leading to a more positive working environment.

Unconditional Love

This is something that is often taken for granted but dogs also offer us unconditional love, something that is sometimes lacking in our human interactions. It’s difficult to feel that all is not well with the world when your dog is so pleased to see you when you come home at the end of a long day.

Dogs Love Fun

Finally, a big reason that dogs are so good for us is they are fun to be around. Dogs live in the moment and are happy with the smallest things, whether that’s chasing a ball in the park or settling down next to us for an evening’s relaxation. Maybe what they can teach us about enjoying life is the biggest benefit of all.

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Featured photo credit: Thomas Leuthard via flickr.com

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James Timpson

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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