My dog, Champ, is one of the happiest beings that I know.
He’s never listened to a Tim Ferriss podcast, read a book on gratitude, or been to a Buddhist temple, yet he’s got the happiness thing down.
He doesn’t worry about his performance at work, he doesn’t care about what other people think of him, he just exists. He’s nice to everyone for no reason at all.
He’s old now, but he’s taught me a lot about happiness and life in his 13 years on the planet.
These are 3 easy practices that I learned from him to be happier, more present, and more productive. Happiness is simple.
1. Allowing Myself Proper Rest
Okay, I can’t guarantee that my dog is on the brink of achieving Nirvana when he’s laying around all day, but I can only hope.
What he is doing is getting the rest he needs, which most people don’t do. I have that same need for rest and recuperation as my dog. In order to do the things humans need to do to survive, I need to be focused, rested, and clear-minded.
Meditation and proper sleep is my simple solution for mental clarity and happiness. Hard is work is important, but you can’t maintain exertion without recovery.
Self-care is crucial for everyone, and dogs are way better at it than humans.
2. Taking Myself for Walks
When I say the word “walk” my dog jumps out of his seat with a lust for life that could only be compared to Jimi Hendrix on the guitar or Joe Rogan with elk meat.
Going for a walk every day is one of the best ways to clear your head and gather your thoughts. As a creative person, it’s easy to get stuck in your head with the countless ideas that are floating.
Our ability to do our best work is partially dependent on what we do when we aren’t working. Buddha was a huge fan of mindful walking. I prefer to blast Slipknot when I walk but to each their own.
Get out of your house, get out of your head. Take your dog for a walk. He needs to pee.
3. Giving Myself a Treat Sometimes
When you’re trying to be successful, it’s easy to get lost in the culture that celebrates suffering. The “hustle culture”.
In the hustle culture, you drink celery juice, eat macadamia nuts, and read books.
These are all great things that you should probably do, but sometimes, just sometimes, give yourself a treat.
It could be a cookie, a coffee with a friend, or a Netflix binge. Whatever.
Treats are one of the best parts of my dog's day, and he feels the love from me when I give them to him. It’s a break for him from his difficult job of laying around on the sofa all day. He deserves it, and so do you.
A treat is an expression of gratitude to yourself or a loved one, and gratitude is one of the most important tools we can use to become happier.
Rest, walks, and treats. If I could take all of the self-help books in the world and smush them into 3 habits, it would be these 3. And I learned them from my dog.
With that, here’s one more picture of Champ, just for good measure.