How to Stress Less & Live in the Moment Like Your Dog

by Hannah Roundy

Do dogs live in the moment more than humans because of this present mindset?

Do dogs live in the moment? Take a lesson from your furry friend by learning how to live like a dog and stress less.

What Are Dogs Thinking About? 

How dogs think and process information is slightly different from how it works with humans. Pups don’t share the same thought processes, but they can experience emotions that produce human thoughts and reactions. 

Dogs can experience joy, sadness, fear, grief, and other emotions. They can even have a sense of humor! Emotions influence your pup’s thoughts. For example, “You hurt my feelings” may be how dogs think after being scolded for bad behavior.

What are pups thinking about when their pet parents leave the house? Dogs with separation anxiety can have fearful and anxious thoughts that their owner might not come back. But most pups will think “I’m bored” or “I’m lonely” until the happy moment their human returns. 

Do Dogs Live in the Moment? 

Numerous studies have been conducted to answer this question. Dr. Emily Bray examined that dogs may have a similar mindset to small children rather than adults.

Pups are more focused on the present, specifically their current environment and what’s happening around them at that time. Do dogs live in the moment more than humans because of this present mindset?

This mindfulness might be the reason why humans love having pups around. Humans tend to do the opposite and stray from living in the moment. They dwell on the past or worry about what’s in their future. We can all learn to live like a dog and stress less! 

How Do Dogs Help with Anxiety?

Dog cuddles and belly scratches are powerful! Simply petting a dog releases oxytocin that can reduce stress hormone cortisol levels. It creates a connection that people with anxiety might struggle to develop with their peers. 

The responsibility of being a pet parent can benefit people with anxiety. Dogs need structure in their lives so that needs like hunger, exercise, and sleep are met. Some anxious people may lack structure and could see a positive impact in setting a routine with their dog. 

Dogs’ need for exercise encourages humans to be active with them by walking, running, or playing. The endorphins we get from exercise can stave off anxiety and other mental health issues.

Another answer to how do dogs help with anxiety is their natural ability to love unconditionally. This loyalty and affection make humans feel loved and safe. No matter how bad you’re feeling, dogs are always ready to show their affection.

3 Ways to Live Like A Dog

Stop & Smell the Roses

Dogs’ noses are incredibly sensitive. They have over 200 million scent receptors while humans only have around 6 million. Sniffing impacts how dogs think about their environment and motivates them to explore new things.

Their sense of smell is akin to sight in humans. Based on one sniff, dogs can identify characteristics of other dogs and animals, such as gender, health, aggression level, or what they like to eat! 

The power of sniffing provides mental stimulation, which is why it’s recommended to let dogs stop and smell on walks. A 30-minute walk with stops to sniff can do a lot for pups with anxiety and dogs in general.

You can do this too (metaphorically, of course)! Whether it’s walking your dog or walking to work, take a minute to discover and appreciate the environment around you. It will help you stress less about what’s ahead and focus on the beauty of the present. 

Love Unconditionally 

Every human can learn how to express unconditional love just by interacting with a dog. From slobbery kisses to swinging tail wags, dogs physically show us how much they love others and aren’t afraid to hide it. 

It’s more complicated for humans. People can take advantage of unconditional love and use it to hurt you. Don’t let that stop you from showing and receiving love in return. 

When dogs meet strangers, they can be wary at first. Pups will start sniffing to see if they should be scared of this person. After a quick sniff, dogs begin to warm up and start showing affection.

Live like a dog and try a sniff first – but not literally. Once you’re comfortable with new friends, love them unconditionally just like your furry friend would.