You might think that starting a gratitude practice can be time-consuming or involve something special like sitting on a fancy cushion or meditating. But really, for us dog owners, it can be as simple as taking the time to notice and be grateful for that wonderful connection between you and your dog.
Being grateful for my dogs and our partnership is something I’ve relied upon a lot lately. I always find little moments of happiness in our relationship. Whether they’re off doing something silly or are just by my side, their presence helps me appreciate the smaller things in life.
It’s these moments that mean so much to me, especially on those really hard days. Practicing gratitude helps lift my spirits and, when I show my dogs how grateful I am for them, it helps strengthen our partnership! That’s why I want to encourage you to start a gratitude practice and help bring more joyful moments to your life.
In this post, I share my daily gratitude practice, why I do it, and how you can start your own. But most importantly, I’m going to share why we all should practice gratitude and how we can start with something we all have in common – our dogs.
“People who are grateful tend to be happier, healthier, and more fulfilled”
Why practice gratitude
From ancient scriptures to the latest science and research, gratitude is known to be good for us. Grateful people tend to be happier, healthier, and more fulfilled. Gratitude can help us cope better with stress, it has a beneficial effect on our heart rate, and so much more.
Our gratitude practice has a knock-on effect on those around us too. Your behavior affects everyone around you, including your family, friends, neighbors, and of course, your dogs. So why wouldn’t you want to improve it?
It’s not always easy to start a gratitude practice. In fact, it can often be a real challenge, especially when times are hard. But this is when we need it the most.
In difficult times, it takes a conscious effort and a strong intention to get into the habit of being grateful. However, gratitude can help us get through those difficult times. Whenever we’re facing discomfort, pain, or grief, being grateful can remind us of the things that bring joy to our lives.
Often, we tend to focus on what goes wrong or what is wrong in our daily lives, but a gratitude practice helps break this cycle. It stops us from concentrating on the small problems and helps us to look at the bigger picture. So, instead of sweating the small stuff, gratitude helps you intentionally drive your focus towards moments that bring a smile to your face or a feeling of love into your hearts.
My gratitude practice
Every day come rain or shine, my dogs and I go out for a walk together. It’s my favorite time of day, and it’s when I really step into my gratitude practice.
This is my time to not only enjoy nature and be with my dogs, but it’s also when I let my dogs be dogs and just enjoy that. It reminds me of how grateful I am for our lifestyle and all of the things I can count on as a result of our partnership.
It can be so easy to take this partnership for granted, especially when you’re blessed with a naturally strong bond. But I know how hard it can be when you’re experiencing behavior challenges or have a reactive or anxious dog. Daily life can be filled with obstacles that can ultimately lead you to feel frustrated, angry, or almost hopeless.
Taking a moment just to acknowledge and be mindful of your dog’s progress and your partnership’s development can be crucial to your relationship as well as your mental wellbeing. By doing this every day, you’re going to get closer to those smaller moments of joy, but also more overarching everyday happiness.
Helping you achieve this successful partnership lifestyle with your dogs is why I do what I do. I want you to have a partnership and a life that you can be grateful for too.
How to practice gratitude
Creating a gratitude practice is as simple as choosing a regular time, every day, to recognize something that you’re grateful for. That’s all there is to it!
I focus on my gratitude practice during my morning dog walk. I walk my dogs every day, so by making this my time to be grateful, it already feels like a habitual practice. It’s also great for me because I know that if I go the rest of the day forgetting to be grateful, I’ve had that intentional gratitude practice every single morning.
Where can you find time to make gratitude a real, regular practice in your life? There are no rules as to what time you need to choose. You could try practicing on your morning, afternoon, or evening dog walks, or you might find it easier to practice alone. Perhaps first thing in the morning when you wake up or right before you go to bed.
You don’t have to dive into practicing every day either – just start with once a week. Take some time on a Sunday evening to think about some moments that you’ve enjoyed that week. What made you smile? What brought love into your heart? You could even write these moments down if you want to and keep them to read when you’re experiencing a challenging time.
Remember that practicing gratitude is all about finding joy. You’re actively and intentionally seeking out what you love about your life and directing your energy towards that. Your gratitude practice should fill your heart with happiness, and the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Just like training a muscle, as you practice gratitude, you’ll find that it naturally becomes more present in your life. Maybe you spot your dog rolling in the grass one day, and your smile instantly triggers those feelings, or your dog brings you over a big stick (he’s really happy about it!), and your laugh reminds you to take a second to appreciate that moment.
So, however you choose to start your gratitude practice, all I urge you to do is start.
“Gratitude can really help us to get through those difficult times”
To help, here are some things I’m grateful for:
- The fun, free partnership lifestyle I have with my dogs
- The amazing, smart, compassionate women I work with in my Brilliant Partners Academy
- The ability to share all of this with you through my blog and my podcast
Now it’s your turn. What are you grateful for?
Watch the video below:
If you’d like to work with me and learn how to create a partnership lifestyle for you and your dog, you can request an invitation to join us in the Brilliant Partners Academy when the doors open for the next enrolment!
You can listen to everything I talked about in this blog post over on my podcast – Enlightened By Dogs. It’s episode 133, which you can listen to here.