9 Things Dogs Do to Remind Us to Relax

Stressed out? Feel better by doing as your dog does

By Jon Nelson

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Are the pressures of everyday life getting you down? Take a page from a dog’s playbook and chill out by doing these 9 things:

1. Stretch

Classic yoga positions “downward dog” and “upward dog” were named after dogs –Fact! Dogs invented these positions not only to stay limber but because they feel awesome. Give it a try, you’ll feel taller and way more relaxed.

2. Self-prescribe an ETB (Early to Bed)

Up late working on that report? Forget it! Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do to keep your stress levels down. Instead, tackle your to-do list early in the morning with some sleep under your belt — your mind will be sharper and you’ll probably get things done in a fraction of the time.

3. Play

Every doctor will tell you to get more exercise if you’re stressed out. Take it from a dog – having a personal “ball thrower” is the best way to release any anxious energy you might have stored up. To avoid looking weird and because personal ball throwers don’t exist (well, maybe in Japan) you could instead look into joining a team and playing an organized sport.

4. Eat regular meals

Your dog will remind you if you miss his mealtime. So why can’t you remind yourself not to miss your own? Don’t go hungry. It makes you mean and on edge. Ever wonder why your stomach growls? It’s smart like a dog. Science.

5. Take a nap

Closing your eyes for a few minutes is an easy way to regain calm and focus. Do it like a dog: chill out when you need to, but be ready to spring to life the minute something is happening — like your boss walking into your office.

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6. Look out the window

Watching the world go by and focusing your attention, well, nowhere, is a great way to ease the day’s tensions. Take a page from your dog’s book and get really excited when a squirrel ambles by. Or maybe don’t get too excited, because people will think you’ve lost it — just remember, there’s a whole world going on out there that is so much bigger than whatever is stressing you out.

7. Smell things

We don’t use our nose enough. Do like your dog does and stick your nose in things that smell good. Try proven relaxants like lilac or roses. In other words, literally take a minute to smell the flowers.

8. Chew on something

Dogs love balls and bones, but you can get that stress relief by chewing gum. Just a few minutes can actually lower cortisol levels. Or you can chew on a bone. Whatever works!

9. Cuddle

Dogs will get all up in your space whenever they feel like it. Why? Because being close feels good. So go get naked with someone who wants to get naked with you or at the least, let your dog curl up next to you.