Wag More. Bark Less.

Have you ever heard that expression/seen that on a bumper sticker?  New age psychology believes that happiness is a CHOICE and can be cultivated beyond our genetics IF we focus our thinking.  The terminal pessimist would say ‘that’s a load of crap’.

Let’s address man’s best friend.  What do dogs do to generate the kind of happiness that makes their tails wag?"cultivate happiness"

1. Most dogs are totally focused on joy and gratitude.

2. Dogs are curious and adventurous.

3. Dogs seize the day and engage in a variety of activities without over thinking.

4. Dogs take care of themselves and rest frequently.  They stop when they need to.

5. Most dogs are not co-dependent and seem to find simple things to occupy themselves with.

6. Dogs bark to protect their homes and owners.  They don’t care if it annoys others.

7. Dogs will let people hold them and love them.  They are not ashamed to ask for more.

Dr. Martin Seligman is a pioneer in the field of positive psychology and while this field does not dismiss real pain and problems, it explores what makes life meaningful and the ways that happiness can be created.  Many theorists believe that an individual can set an intention of positive thinking including focusing on gratitude and forgiveness. Research indicates that deep and long-lasting happiness is achieved by being and thinking far more than having material possessions.

If happiness is a choice and wagging may indeed be more beneficial than barking, here are some additional ideas to generate happiness:

  • Meditate/Yoga – a quiet mind is easier to focus
  • Cultivate close relationships
  • Quickly identify and redirect negative thinking into something useful
  • Do not engage in gossip and complaining; it only breeds discontent

In difficult times it may be easier to bark than wag, but that simple phrase is a quick reminder that the possibility of authentic happiness is within our control.

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