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Last Updated on January 3, 2018

10 Surprising Benefits Of Having A Dog You Didn’t Know About

10 Surprising Benefits Of Having A Dog You Didn’t Know About

Dogs offer more than just companionship. If you’ve got a furry friend already, you likely have quite a few reasons to thank your dog. If you’re considering getting a pooch, check out these surprising benefits of having a dog.

1. You’ll exercise more.

Owning a dog can motivate you to exercise every day. On those days when it might be easy to skip a workout, looking at your dog standing by the door waiting to go for a walk can give you the push you need to get out there. Taking your dog for a 30 minute walk every day can greatly improve your health.

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2. You’ll feel less stressed.

There have been lots of studies that have shown how dogs decrease stress levels. Petting your dog, playing with your dog, and simply watching your dog can reduce your stress each day. Research shows that dog ownership reduces stress hormones and the effects usually outweigh the stress caused by caring for a dog.

3. Your social life may improve.

Not only does walking your dog help you to get exercise, it might also help you get a date. People are more likely to stop and talk with you when you’re walking a dog. Going to the dog park or taking your dogs to run errands can also lead to strangers striking up conversations with you about your dog.

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4. You may detect cancer sooner.

A dog’s amazing sense of smell can be used for a variety of purposes, including cancer detection. Many dog owners have reported their dog sniffing, licking, or nudging spots that later turned out to be cancerous. One of the unexpected benefits of having a dog is that it may even save your life by helping you to detect cancer.

5. Your kids will be less likely to have allergies.

Children who are raised around a dog are less likely to have allergies. In fact, living in a home with a dog can help kids grow up to have an increased immunity to pet allergies later in life.

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6. Your heart will be healthier.

Studies have shown that petting a dog lowers a person’s heart rate. Therefore, dog owners are more likely to have a healthy heart. In fact, some research has shown that dog owners are much more likely to survive a heart attack compared to non-dog owners. Male pet owners in particular tend to experience a reduced rate of heart disease.

7. You’re less likely to feel depressed.

The benefits of dog ownership extend to your mental health as well. Dog owners are less likely to be depressed. Dog owners who have been diagnosed with clinical depression aren’t likely to be as depressed as other people. Caring for a dog helps relieve symptoms of depression and encourages people to be more positive.

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8. You can grow old gracefully.

Dog ownership benefits elderly people in many ways. Alzheimer’s patients have fewer outbursts when there is a dog in the home. Caregivers of elderly patients report less stress. Dogs offer wonderful companionship for the elderly as well.

9. Your risk for general illness decreases.

Dog owners experience fewer health problems. Dog owners tend to have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels compared to non-dog owners. Dogs expose their owners to a lot of germs, which can help build up a human’s immunity to disease. As a result, dog owners get sick less often and less severely than non-dog owners.

10.  You’ll feel safer.

Dogs can be an effective home security system. Studies show that barking dogs deter burglars. Just knowing that you’ve got a dog who can use its keen sense of hearing to detect anyone prowling around can help increase your sense of security, which is good for both your mental and physical health.

More by this author

Amy Morin

A psychotherapist, psychology instructor, keynote speaker, and the author of the bestselling book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do

12 Ways To Improve Social Skills And Make You Sociable Anytime 60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do 10 Surprising Benefits Of Having A Dog You Didn’t Know About 15 Things To Remember If You Want To Be Successful

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Last Updated on November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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