This post idea came about by accident and slightly out of frustration. I was in the midst of working on my blog (we’re talking major work session) when our dog came into the room with a rope toy in his mouth and a wagging tale. He looked at me with his big brown eyes and I sighed before saying “fine, I’ll play with you for a bit.” I was frustrated that he had taken me away from a productive work session. This frustration subsided quickly when I realized something – dogs really have life figured out better than we do.

Mr. Gibbs continued to run from room to room playing keep away (his favorite game) as my brain put together the pieces. He was happy, carefree and enjoying the day. He wasn’t worrying about work or what he was going to do next. He was simply living in the moment and enjoying every bit of it. I decided to join him in this enjoyment and we chased each other around the house for a good ten minutes before tiring out.

At that point, I made a few notes on a post it about the things my dogs have taught me about life over the years. Mr. Gibbs fell asleep beside me as I let creativity take over my brain. I’m sure there’s many more lessons to be learned from dogs, but here’s the top seven.

Playtime is golden.

As humans, we spend a vast amount of our time working! The average (and I say average loosely) work week is 40 hours. That’s about 25% of our week and I didn’t even factor in commute times! After working, we come home to complete household chores and other necessities. A lot of us forget to take the time out to play. Playtime is important though – it’s something we all need to maintain our overall happiness level.

Exercise is important.

How often do you put other things ahead of exercise? If you’re like me, it’s way too often. Dogs have it figured out though – they realize the importance of exercise and even enjoy it. Think about it – how excited does a dog get when they’re about to go on a walk? We really should start applying that same enthusiasm to our own workouts!

Naps should be enjoyed.

Sleep! Sleep is so important for overall health and happiness. I really don’t need to quote studies here because you’ve probably seen a dozen. My dog loves to sleep whenever and wherever he likes. He never seems upset that he spent time napping. Let’s take a page from their book and let go of the guilt that comes with “wasted” time. Stop counting sleep and naps as wasted time. Instead, start looking at it as a form of self care for your body.

Always give unconditional love.

Mr. Gibbs gets in trouble. He doesn’t like it and neither do we. However, he doesn’t hold onto it for long. In fact, he’s often seeking us out for forgiveness before we’re ready to give it. For him, love is unconditional. He doesn’t hold onto grudges or stay mad at us for long because that’s a waste of time. I want to start working on letting go of emotions and embracing happiness more.

Accidents happen.

Potty in the house? Chew something up? Everyone makes mistakes and everyone messes up. Dogs tend to live in the moment – they don’t focus on the mistakes they made yesterday. Instead, they are always moving forward with full force. I think we have a lot we can learn from them about letting go of the past.

Family is everything.

At the end of the day, it’s your family that matters most. They’re the ones you protect and snuggle up to when times get rough. This one really goes back to the unconditional love part again. Cherish the ones around you and let them know that they are cherished with kisses, snuggles, and tail wags (or in our case, smiles).

It’s okay to show emotion.

This is probably my favorite lesson that dogs can teach us. They don’t hide their emotions – when you walk through the door and they’re happy to see you, they let you know right away. They aren’t shy about it and we shouldn’t be either. After all, there’s less lost by showing our emotions than by hiding them.

I’ve always loved having dogs around. They can help you realize that the small things aren’t worth worrying over. Do you have a pet in your life? Have you learned any lessons from them? I’d love to hear all about your furbabies in the comments below!