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How to Wake Up Like a Dog

How to Wake Up Like a Dog

    Before I get started, some of you must be thinking that I’ve gone completely mad suggesting that we should be waking up like a dog — or any other animal for that matter.

    Let me explain. Each morning here at my home (without fail), one of my Lhasa Apso dogs (a boy named Chester) starts to prop himself up at the side of my bed at about 6:30 am to see if I’m getting up yet.

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    He does this even if it’s still completely dark outside — like it usually is during our Canadian winter season this early in the morning. He must have some type of internal alarm clock that wakes him up that early each morning. Fortunately for me, he doesn’t start the day barking which would really annoy me.

    I’m quite used to this, of course, since he and his sister (named Roxie) are already six years of age. But for some reason, it dawned on me today that he is actually setting a pretty darn good example for me — and probably everyone else out there.

    Waking Up with Enthusiasm Each Day

    When he gets up each morning, he is wide awake and full of energy and enthusiasm. It is almost like he is showing me that he is ready to take on another day no matter what’s on the agenda.

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    Chester must have already decided that it was going to be a great day no matter what. He made the decision to be super-positive and his resulting energy first thing in the morning each day certainly shows!

    This is definitely something the rest of us can learn. We make the decisions on how we feel for any given situation — whether it be positive or negative. It is us who really decides how we will face each new day.

    If we choose to be negative first thing in the morning, then we will likely have a pretty rotten day. On the other hand, if we choose to be positive when we wake up we will be more successful at living our day — even if full of challenges — with more energy and gusto.

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    Vibes From Positive People

    I’m sure that we can all think of at least one person we all know — whether at the office or some other place — who always seems to be cheerful and happy. It’s almost infectious for the rest of us. The positive vibes that such people have seem to wake the rest of us up. This is why I think it’s so important to be among like-minded people on a regular basis.

    In my case, it’s my dog who is displaying this type of positive vibe on a daily basis right in front of me. This is yet another example of how my pets have taught me something useful. I had originally thought that my dogs taught me only about compassion and responsibility — which were already great lessons in life. Now it seem that my dogs also have the capacity to teach me more about motivation and how I should approach each new day.

    Think about it. You have the power to determine how you feel and how you start your day. If you want to have a great day, you make the decision to do so…just like how my dog Chester does each morning.

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    If you know people who always seem to be super positive, feel free to share below how they have affected you. Also, if you have learned something from a pet, feel free to share that as well in the comments below.

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    Last Updated on October 23, 2018

    Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

    Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

    My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

    Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

    The Neural Knitwork Project

    In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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    While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

    The knitting and neural connection

    The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

    More mental health benefits from knitting

    Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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    “You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

    Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

    Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

    She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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    “People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

    The dopamine effect on our happiness

    Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

    There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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    “Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

    If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

    Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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