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45 Essential Dog Care Hacks That Will Make Their Owner’s Life Easier

45 Essential Dog Care Hacks That Will Make Their Owner’s Life Easier

Pet parents know that their pup is worth every hair tumbleweed and chewed shoe that they must deal with to have the precious pooch in their lives. However, who wouldn’t want an even smoother interaction with man’s best friend? Below are 45 dog-care hacks to prove once and for all that owning a dog in this era of genius ideas and gadgets has never been easier.

1. Dog Crates to Improve Pet and People Sanity

Crates, when used correctly, can be an extremely important tool. They can help you with potty training, keeping your pup from chewing power cords and other dangerous things when you can’t watch them, and can give your dog a safe place to go to take a break from too much activity. Teach your young children to leave the dog alone if he retreats to his crate. Crates are also great to take with you to give your dog a point of reference if you travel, as they will feel safer in a car, plane, or hotel room if they already see the crate as their familiar den. It’s easy to train a dog to love his crate; especially if you feed him in it. Make it comfortable with soft bedding and keep it open in a quiet area of the house, so the dog can utilize it when needed.

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    Image Credit: Petco

    2. DIY Pet Treats and Pill Pockets

    There are plenty of DIY dog treat recipes out there for those who like to show their pooch a little lovin from the oven! But, if you have a pet that needs daily medication, and you don’t want to spend money on store-bought pill pockets, you can make your own with this simple pill-pocket recipe. Depending on the size of your pill, you can also use frozen blackberries or blueberries if you want to give your pet another healthy anti-oxidant-rich alternative. Just run the berry under water to thaw, and push the pill in! Remember, not all berries are good for your dog to eat!

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      Image Credit: Muttnut

      3. Smart Pet Doors Let in Only Furry Family

      Do you ever feel like a doorman for your pet? Have you thought about a pet door, but are worried that a ravaging racoon may wander in at night? Then get a pet door that only unlocks for your fur kid. These wondrous passageways are only unlocked by a signal from your pet’s collar. This way, your pooch has full access to your house and yard, and you have peace of mind knowing that no masked bandits are entering your home.

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        Image Credit: PetSafe

        4. Use a Dremel for a Puppy Pedi

        Trimming back your four-legged friend’s nails is an essential part of dog care. Some dogs hate the feeling of regular nail clippers, as they can put pressure on the nail quick and cause discomfort. With a bit of patience, you can train many dogs to accept a Dremel. The Dremel bit does not put pressure on the nail quick like regular dog clippers. Many dogs, once trained to accept the sound and feel of the Dremel, prefer it to regular clippers. Just remember to trim back longer hair that is around the paws so that it doesn’t get caught in the tool. Also, use the sanding drum and constantly put your finger on it to check it when it’s not moving to make sure it’s not building up too much heat, like in this instructional video. This toe tool can then help you create a spa day with your best friend, and easily sand your dog’s nails down for the perfect pedi.

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          Image Credit: Dog Grooming Tips Revealed

          5. Chicken and Rice Works Wonders for the Upset Puppy Tummy

          Vets have recommended it for years. If your dog suffers from digestive troubles, and you’ve cleared him of the more serious health issues with your vet, you can help soothe his tummy with a base chicken and rice home-cooked meal.

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            6. DIY Pet Beds From Old Furniture

            Ever wondered what to do with that old T.V. cabinet or vintage dresser? Well, wonder no more! Make it a trendy pad for your pooch with these great ideas!

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              Image Credit: Hometalk

              7. Does Your Dog Wolf Down His Food?

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                Image Credit: LifeTricks

                8. Put an Extra Collar Around Your Leash Handle to Make It Hands-Free

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                  Image Credit: Imgur

                  9. Bitter Apple for Problem Chewers

                  If your dog is chewing you out of house and home, Bitter Apple is a safe alternative to deter your pet from taking that next bite. It tastes pretty potent to dogs, but it’s also perfectly safe for them to ingest – unlike your power cord.

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                    Image Credit: Petco

                    10. Pet Evac Kit for Emergencies

                    No one wants to think about disasters, but it’s always good to have a plan in case they happen. It could save your dog’s life!

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                      Image Credit: ASPCA

                      11. DIY Pet Shampoo

                      You can save money by making your own shampoo from common household items like Dawn, baking soda, and vinegar. Get the recipe here.

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                        12. Baking Soda and Vinegar Remove Urine Smell

                        Soak up the urine with a paper towel, spray the stain with a mixture of half vinegar and half baking soda solution, and let it soak in for 10 minutes. Then, absorb the excess moisture with a paper towel, sprinkle the spot with baking soda, and let it dry. Just keep pets away, as baking soda is toxic to dogs. Once dry, vacuum it up. Remember, dogs will eliminate where they smell their previous markings, so it’s very important to deodorize as well as clean to prevent repeat accidents.

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                          Image Credit: Vetwest

                          13. Know Dog CPR

                          Knowing dog CPR could save your pet’s life. Keep instructions in an easily-accessible place, in case you need to access them quickly.

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                            Image Credit: Imgur

                            14. Re-purpose Old Clothes into Pet Clothes

                            You can use sweater sleeves, socks, and tee shirts to create adorable outfits and trendy clothes for Fido.

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                              Image Credit: Romp Rescue

                              15. Crib Mattress with Fitted Sheets for Pet Bed

                              Unlike regular pet beds, you can easily wash the sheets!

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                                Image Credit: Most Amazing Photography

                                16. Did Your Sunglasses Break? Make DIY Sunglasses For Fido

                                Bright sun can be tough on doggie eyes too! Make some trendy DIY pet shades here.

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                                  Image Credit: Dollar Store Crafts

                                  17. DIY Refill Water Bowl

                                  Tired of filling up your dog’s bowl? Make this cute contraption to make sure your pup stays hydrated.

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                                    Image Credit: Instructables

                                    18. Freeze Attachable Water Bowls in Crate When Traveling So Your Pet Won’t Spill

                                    If you fly with your dog in a crate under the plane, make sure to fill the attachable water bowl with water and put it in the freezer the night before your flight. Take it out right before you leave. The water will slowly melt, and not spill in transit. This way, the water won’t splash out during the hassle of getting on the plane and wet their bedding. Your pet will also have plenty to drink on the long flight, and the ice will keep them cooler in case the temperature is a bit warm on your travel day.

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                                      Image Credit: Petco

                                      19. Keep pet paws clean

                                      Easily wash dogs paws when coming in with the Paw Wash. You can also keep baby wipes handy to make sure your pet doesn’t track in dirt from the great outdoors.

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                                        Image Credit: The Paw Wash

                                        20) Stop Houdini Hounds

                                        If your dog is small enough to squeeze through your gate, buy this ingenious little harness. Your dog can move freely, but will be slightly less squeezable when it comes to fences. Make sure your harness still lets your pet come in through your pet door.

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                                          Image Credit: Hammacher Schlemmer

                                          21. Have a Fail-Safe Word That Brings Your Dog Back Every Time

                                          Does your dog run come barreling to you at the word “cookie?” If you haven’t trained your dog to come to you, and you should for their safety, make sure you at least have a word that they recognize, like “treat,” that you can use if they get loose.

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                                            22. If You Don’t Have a Recall Word, Try Drama

                                            If your dog gets loose, and they haven’t learned a word that brings them back to you, they may still respond to some clever acting. Whatever you do, don’t chase after them. They are probably faster than you. However, if you fall down and pretend to be hurt, they may run back to check on you. You can also run away from them calling happily in an excited voice. Dogs naturally chase things that run away from them. Then, when they “catch you,” you’ve actually caught them.

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                                              23. Cargo Pants Convert to Dog Cooling Vest

                                              Does your dog get hot easily? You can create this cute cooling vest by cutting up old cargo pants.

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                                                Image Credit: Instructables

                                                24. For Puppy-Kissable Breath

                                                If you dog suffers from bad breath, but doesn’t enjoy the tooth-brushing experience, you can put dog toothpaste on a lint brush and have your dog lick it off. Much of the bacteria that causes that foul smell is on the tongue. Another trick is to add parsley to their food. It’s full of good vitamins and naturally eliminates stinky breath.

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                                                  Image Credit: Leopold’s Crate

                                                  25. Everyone Loves Pool Time

                                                  You can create hours of entertainment for your pet, and also help them stay cool by buying a kiddy plastic pool. Just fill it with water and enjoy your puppy playtime show.

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                                                    Image Credit: Pinterest

                                                    26. Turmeric Can Help with Pain And Other Ailments

                                                    Turmeric has shown, in recent studies, to help fight cancer, detoxify the body, reduce anti-inflammatory issues, and lower or even eliminate pain. All of the benefits seen in humans are also found to be true in our four-legged furry friends. However, Turmeric also is a blood thinner, and may react with medications. So always check with your vet before adding it to your pet’s diet. You can normally feed 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight.

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                                                      Image Credit: Munch Zone

                                                      27. Vaseline on Paws Protect Puppy Pads From Snow

                                                      Snow can scrape up sensitive paws. A little Vaseline on your pup’s pads before a snowball fight goes a long way to making sure the game stays fun for everyone.

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                                                        Image Credit: Sarah Hansen

                                                        28. The Vacuum Isn’t the Enemy

                                                        Many dogs hate the vacuum, but with a bit of positive training, you can teach your dog that the vacuum only brings good things – like praise and treats. Then, you can use grooming tools like the Dyson Grooming Tool or other vacuum attachments to suck up your dog’s dander and hair before it ever hits the floor.

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                                                          Image Credit: K9 Magazine

                                                          29. DIY Frozen Dog Toys

                                                          Is your pet the coolest kid on the block? To help him keep him in that status, freeze some of his toys and treats in water or chicken broth, and watch him go to town. He will be occupied for hours getting to all of the hidden treasures, and will be too busy to get into other mischief.

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                                                            Image Credit: Pinterest

                                                            30. Use a Dryer Sheet to Calm a Dog During a Storm

                                                            Many times, it’s the electric charge in the air and not the actual storm that upsets dogs during bad weather. Some dogs just don’t like the noise, but if your dog just hates the electricity in the air, take a dryer sheet and rub it over him to make him feel better.

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                                                              Image Credit: Mashable

                                                              31. Remove Pet Hair with a Wet Rubber Glove

                                                              If you don’t have access to a lint roller, take a wet rubber glove and rub your hand over furry furniture. You can easily pick up the hair.

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                                                                Image Credit: Super Cool Pets

                                                                32. Soften Dry Kibble in Warm Water

                                                                If you have a finicky eater or an older dog, add warm water or chicken broth, and let the kibble soften for about 15 minutes. You may notice a renewed interest in their appetite. This also helps your dog stay hydrated.

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                                                                  Image Credit: Happy Bark Days

                                                                  33. Know Your Dog’s Body Language

                                                                  Dog’s can’t talk like humans. If you know how to read their body language, they can communicate very effectively to you how they are feeling. Many dog bites happen from humans not tuning into the signals the dog is screaming through their body posture. Most dogs bite when that’s the only recourse left to get their point across.

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                                                                    Image Credit: Pet Lovers

                                                                    34. Use Classical Music to Calm

                                                                    You may enjoy relaxing to a good Bach concerto, but did you know that studies also show that classical music soothes your pet too?

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                                                                      Image Credit: Amazon

                                                                      35. Tire Out Your Energizer Bunny

                                                                      If you have a high-energy dog, have them wear a vest and carry water, waste bags, and other supplies on walks. It gives them a job to do that challenges them mentally and physically, you don’t have to carry anything, and you also don’t have to run a marathon with them to tire them out.

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                                                                        Image Credit: CesarsWay

                                                                        36. Beat the Street Heat

                                                                        Remember, if you can’t walk barefoot on the pavement without it burning, then neither should your dog. Always walk them early in the morning or later in the evening if they have to walk on pavement to prevent burned paws.

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                                                                          Image Credit: Adopt a Pet

                                                                          37. For Cleaning Those Puppy Pearly Whites

                                                                          Some dogs don’t tolerate people brushing their teeth. If your pup is a bit reluctant to do his dental diligence, squeeze some doggie toothpaste onto a Nylabone or rope toy. They can happily chew on it, while unknowingly brushing their teeth.

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                                                                            Image Credit: Hammock’s House of Hounds

                                                                            38. DIY Pet Paw Ornaments

                                                                            These cute ornaments will give you a lasting memory of your pet, and let them contribute to the Christmas decorations. Learn how to make them here!

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                                                                              Image Credit: Sew Doggy Style

                                                                              39. Lost Dog Tip

                                                                              First, you should exhaust all other options to find your dog, such as putting up posters, posting adds online and in the paper, checking animals shelters, and personally searching. However, if you have some idea where your dog was last seen, leave something that smells like you, such as a used article of clothing, with some food and water.  Leave a note asking people not to take the items. Leave your phone number on the note so that people can call you if they see your dog staying in that spot. Then, keep checking that location. If your dog is still nearby, he will be drawn to your scent, as well as the food and water.

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                                                                                Image Credit: Three Village Veterinary Hospital

                                                                                40. Microchip and Register your Pet

                                                                                A registered microchip on your dog could save his life if he ends up in a high-kill animal shelter. Keep your records current with the microchip company and your vet.  There are so many stories of families who would have never been reunited with their pets, except for their decision to microchip.

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                                                                                  Image Credit: High Desert Animal Hospital

                                                                                  41. Pet Credit Card for Emergencies

                                                                                  If you choose not to carry Pet Insurance, having a pet credit card like Care Credit will allow you to make payments interest free for a year on big veterinary expenses.

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                                                                                    Image Credit: Credit Cards

                                                                                    42. Car Insurance That Covers Your Entire Family

                                                                                    Some car insurance companies, such as Progressive, offer to pay medical bills for your pet in the event of an accident.

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                                                                                      Image Credit: Aol Autos

                                                                                      43. Travel in Style

                                                                                      You don’t have to leave your pet with a sitter. Utilize free travel sites that show what hotels welcome your furry family. For example, the hotel chain La Quinta doesn’t charge a pet fee for your dog to join you in your room.

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                                                                                        Image Credit: Goodnight Lucky

                                                                                        44. Keep Your Dog Trim and Get More Time!

                                                                                        Feeding dogs extra treats may make them extra happy, but it shortens their life if they become obese. In fact, dogs at a healthy weight lived almost two years longer in a recent study. That’s a big number to a dog! Keeping your pet lean can also help them live a more active lifestyle by reducing their risk for joint problems and diabetes.

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                                                                                          Image Credit: Examiner

                                                                                          45) Never, Ever Leave Pets in Your Hot Car

                                                                                          The temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes according to a recent study! Cracking your windows makes little difference in the power of the sun to turn your car into a death oven. Take your pets with you or leave them at home, but don’t lock them in your car!

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                                                                                            Image Credit: Abcoics

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                                                                                            Last Updated on July 3, 2020

                                                                                            How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                                                                            How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                                                                            Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life. To control your thoughts means to influence the way you live your life.

                                                                                            Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affects your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality)

                                                                                            I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive, and just a general waste of energy.

                                                                                            You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                                                                                            Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Be someone who can control your thoughts—become the master of your mind.

                                                                                            When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                                                                                            I currently have a few thoughts that are not of my choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                                                                                            Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                                                                                            Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in control of your thoughts.

                                                                                            If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                                                                                            Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create unhealthy and unproductive thoughts.

                                                                                            1. The Inner Critic

                                                                                            This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                                                                                            • Other people’s words—many times your parents
                                                                                            • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples’ expectations
                                                                                            • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media
                                                                                            • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                                                                                            The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance, and lack of self-love.

                                                                                            Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is youwhy else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                                                                                            2. The Worrier

                                                                                            This person lives in the future—in the world of “what ifs.”

                                                                                            The Worrier is motivated by fear, which is often irrational and has no basis. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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                                                                                            3. The Reactor or Troublemaker

                                                                                            This is the one that triggers anger, frustration, and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

                                                                                            This person can be set off by words or feelings and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                                                                                            The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control. He is run by past programming that no longer serves you—if it ever did.

                                                                                            4. The Sleep Depriver

                                                                                            This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                                                                                            The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                                                                                            • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                                                                                            • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                                                                                            • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity, and generalized anxiety
                                                                                            • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                                                                                            How can you control these squatters?

                                                                                            How to Master Your Mind

                                                                                            You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You can control your thoughts, but you must pay attention to them so you can identify “who” is running the show—this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                                                                                            Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                                                                                            There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                                                                                            • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                                                                                            • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                                                                                            This second option is what is known as peace of mind.

                                                                                            The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go-to” thoughts in applicable situations.

                                                                                            Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                                                                                            1. For the Inner Critic

                                                                                            When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                                                                                            You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                                                                                            For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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                                                                                            You can also have a dialogue with yourself to discredit the ‘voice’ that created the thought—if you know whose voice it is:

                                                                                            “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                                                                                            If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready.

                                                                                            This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                                                                                            • They rile up the Worrier.
                                                                                            • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                                                                                            • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                                                                                            • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                                                                                            • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                                                                                            Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                                                                                            Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                                                                                            2. For the Worrier

                                                                                            Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally, and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                                                                                            Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind, and creates anxiety in the body. This may make it more difficult for you to control your thoughts effectively.

                                                                                            You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                                                                                            • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                                                                                            • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                                                                            • Muscles tense

                                                                                            Use the above-stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time, you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                                                                                            If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                                                                                            Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                                                                                            “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                                                                                            Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense. Both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                                                                                            If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

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                                                                                            Now, take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like! Do it until you feel that you’re close to being in control of your thoughts.

                                                                                            Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

                                                                                            For example: If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                                                                                            “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place.

                                                                                            Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                                                                                            Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                                                                                            “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                                                                                            Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                                                                                            3. For the Troublemaker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                                                                                            Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers. But until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                                                                                            The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain.

                                                                                            I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                                                                                            Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds—just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                                                                                            Breathe in through your nose:

                                                                                            • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                                                                                            • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                                                                                            • Focus on your belly rising.

                                                                                            Breathe out through your nose:

                                                                                            • Feel your lungs emptying.
                                                                                            • Focus on your belly falling.
                                                                                            • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                                                                                            Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize. Now, you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior, and you’ll be more in control of your thoughts.

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                                                                                            One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

                                                                                            Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                                                                                            4. For the Sleep Depriver

                                                                                            (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher, and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                                                                                            I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                                                                                            Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                                                                                            1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                                                                                            2. Then I came up with a replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                                                                                            When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and thoughts, and I choose quiet.

                                                                                            From the first time I tried this method, I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                                                                                            For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (closed, of course). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                                                                                            If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                                                                                            You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                                                                                            • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon
                                                                                            • Shut down your thinking
                                                                                            • Calm your feelings
                                                                                            • Simply focus on the present moment

                                                                                            The Bottom Line

                                                                                            Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes.

                                                                                            You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable, and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                                                                                            Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. You can be in control of your thoughts. The choice is yours!

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                                                                                            Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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