When it comes to being happier and healthier, experts say there’s a lot we can learn from our pets. Here are some of the facts on what cats and dogs can teach us:
Lesson #1: It’s best to STREEETCH yourself awake. Ever notice how animals always stretch and yawn after a long sleep? According to the book, Secrets of Longevity, people should do that too because stretching stimulates circulation and boosts oxygen flow, which increases our alertness and makes us less prone to injury. So instead of bolting out of bed to shut off the alarm, try this: Just linger in bed for a minute with your eyes open. Then, slowly sit up and stretch your arms, then roll your shoulders. That’ll help get your blood and energy flowing.
The second lesson we can learn from our pets: Trust your gut. Experts say animals are very good at reading social clues, like body language and facial expressions, so they instantly know who to trust. But we tend to over-think things when we meet strangers, which leads us to choose logic over emotion and trust some people even when our brain tells us to run the other way. But get this: A recent study asked students to rate professors seconds after meeting them and then again six months later. And 90-percent of the time, after six months the students agreed with their initial assessments. Meaning: Our first instincts about people are usually right.
One last lesson we can learn from pets: Just listen. Eighty percent of people say they feel better after confiding in a pet. It’s why they’re so therapeutic for kids with learning disabilities. Because pets listen and don’t judge. In fact, kids who read to a pet improve their reading skills far more than if they read to an adult, who might correct them if they make a mistake. So when someone confides in you, just listen. Don’t chime in with advice or say, “Well, listen to what happened to me!” Just be a sounding board. If the person wants your input, they’ll ask for it.