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8 Lessons Dogs Can Teach Us About Happiness

8 Lessons Dogs Can Teach Us About Happiness

Dogs are arguably man’s best friend. They have accompanied us since the dawn of time. Surprisingly, there are lots of life lessons that we can learn from them. Listen to these dog’s thoughts and learn the eight lessons that dogs can teach us about happiness:

1. “Rub my tummy, please”

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    How many of you dog owners agree that dog loves to be rubbed on their tummy? This very simple act alone is simple enough to make them happy. Likewise, we need to learn that happiness is actually simple.

    Lesson that we can learn: Happiness is simple. It can be as simple as spending the time with people you love. So when was the last time you went out on a date with your spouse? Do not let the busyness of life prevent you from spending quality time with the people you love.

    2. “I can play with the water forever, simply because i enjoy it”

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      Do you notice that your dog is always ready for some play time, be it chasing the ducks, playing with water, playing with balls, or throwing and catching sticks with you? They seem to never get tired while playing.

      Lesson that we can learn: Play matters. Don’t allow your life to become nothing more than a series of chores and obligations. Figure out what you enjoy doing, then make it a priority at least once a week. Ride your bike, read a book, draw pictures – whatever it is that makes you smile, do that. And do it regularly.

      3. “Let me curl my body near the fireplace and relax for a while”

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        Photo source: http://puppytime.tumblr.com/

        After getting tired from playing and running around, your dog loves nothing more than curling their body beside you and just be still.

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        Lesson that we can learn: Happiness can be found in quiet moments. In a chaotic world, sometimes we need some personal time (or “me” time) to just sit back, be quiet, and reflect on everything.

        4. “When you get home, I’m happy beyond belief”

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          There’s nothing quite as heartwarming as a dog who’s happy to see you. When I come home after going out to dinner, my dog’s joy is so big, she can barely contain it. It comes out in wiggles and yips as she circles our feet and races between us to greet us both, trembling with the thrill of our return. Her happiness is contagious – I catch it every time.

          Lesson that we can learn: Happiness is contagious. When you’re happy, express it, and it will be reflected back to you. Smile. Fist-bump a total stranger. Post something positive on Facebook. Chat with the check-out clerk. When you express your happiness freely, the people on the receiving end get a nice little mood boost of their own, and they spread it to others.

          5. “Screw it, I only have 10 year life-span, so I’ll do whatever”

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            Do you know that the average life-span of a dog is between 10-13 years? No wonder it seems very easy for them to make decisions. Got an interest with the female dog? Just go chase and try to woo her. Feel hungry? Nag the human so they give you food.

            Lesson that we can learn: YOLO (You-Only-Live-Once) attitude. Do not wait until the perfect moment to do the things you need to do. Need to lose weight? Do not wait until the start of new year to start over again. Do it now, and you’ll be happy with the results sooner than if you postpone it.

            6. “What? The neighbor dog stole my ball? Well, I don’t really mind. We can play the ball together”

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              When you study animal packs, there is rarely a conflict, as the members of the pack solve their problems and move on. They don’t hold a grudge or worry about what happened yesterday.

              Lesson that we can learn: Do not hold grudges. Forgiveness gives us back our power, as we regain a sense of wholeness, peace, and the ability to move on with our lives.

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              7. “I don’t want to play ball alone, play with me please”

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                A dog seldom plays with the ball by herself. She can get to it any time, but the ball on its own is boring. Her joy comes in the interaction. She wants me to throw the ball. She wants me to chase her. She wants me to ask her to give it back. (She doesn’t so much want to give it back.)

                Lesson that we can learn: Things won’t make you happy. People will. Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while and make plans to get together.

                8. “Hmm, I can sense that my owner is happy, so probably I will get more food today”

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                  Photo Source: http://drdvmd.com/human-medicine-is-going-to-the-dogs/

                  Many of us have not developed a sense of intuition, or we have lost touch with our intuition. We listen to words but neglect our inner feelings. We may feel uneasy about a certain situation, but neglect what our body is telling us.

                  Lesson that we can learn: Dogs understand what is going on beneath the surface, as they are led by their instincts and rely on their gut reactions. We have these clues as well. Hone in on your intuition and it will guide you to a life of peace and serenity.

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                  1 5 Real Relationship Goals You Should Actually Strive Toward 2 When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 3 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 4 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 5 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake

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                  Last Updated on January 15, 2021

                  7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                  7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                  The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

                  Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

                  Posture

                  First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

                  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
                  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
                  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
                  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

                  All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

                  Facial Expressions

                  Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

                  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
                  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
                  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

                  If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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                  1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

                  A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

                  The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

                  This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

                  2. Relax Your Face

                  New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

                  The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

                  To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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                  3. Improve Your Eye Contact

                  Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

                  The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

                  To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

                  3. Smile More

                  There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

                  Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

                  4. Hand Gestures

                  Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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                  It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

                  5. Enhance Your Handshake

                  In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

                  “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

                  It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

                  6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

                  As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

                  Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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                  Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

                  Final Takeaways

                  Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

                  If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

                  More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

                  Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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