Our animals bring so much love, happiness and joy into our lives. They are our workout buddies, our entertainers, love bugs and our counsellors too. I know that a lot of you look at your animals and feel that warmth and appreciation coming towards you. I feel it too whenever I look adoringly upon my own beloved animals. I do wonder, are they feeling just as loved as I do? Are they just as happy?
They give so much to us that we want to make sure their lives are fulfilled and joyous. Sure, we can give them lots of outings, playtime, cuddles, toys, favourite foods and the list goes on. But there is really one thing that I have discovered that makes animals truly happy. There is one thing that makes your animals give the contented ‘sighs’. You’re not going to expect it. The answer is YOUR happiness.
Yes that’s right! YOUR HAPPINESS. If you’re feeling on top of the world, feeling fulfilled and full of gratitude, then it is safe to say your animals will be very content. If you are misaligned, overtired, or involved in an unhappy relationship, chances are your animals are constantly anxious and unhappy at home. When I am working towards several deadlines and the stress is high, my animals will reflect this through their health. My dog Savannah usually gets a sore tummy and Mattie my cat will demand to get more of my attention. However, when I take time out for myself, especially during holidays, all four of my animals are completely relaxed. My dog Akeira does not pace around, Savannah’s health is relaxed, Shea is content around the dogs, and Mattie is content with me. The more I noticed these changes in my animals, the more I have worked on improving my environment and wellbeing.
So where do you start? Let’s look at the simple areas that you can immediately improve on:
I am not going to tell you to remove all your favourite foods that are bad for you and stick to a holistic diet. We are essentially in a physical vehicle which needs to get us around for some time. It is not like a car where we can upgrade when it no longer works. Eating the right foods to benefit your body will improve your overall moods and physical health. You are what you eat. I try to fill my diet with fresh healthy produce. I find I feel lighter and more energised. We all deserve to treat ourselves every now and again but not at every meal. Remember, the healthier the fuel you give your body, the stronger it will be to look after you and in turn your animals. Your food gives you the energy for healthy play and activities which your animals deserve.
This one will take some evaluation from you. Are you happy where you are living? Can you get to nature easily? Do your animals have a lot of freedom to move around? Your environment is important for you and your animals. If you both cannot get to fresh air and spend time in nature daily, then getting yourself into a ritual of taking your animals to a park or just outside to your communal area in your building will help you all get the benefits you need. I am fortunate to have a park around the corner for my dogs and views of the ocean from my home which gives me a great sense of freedom and contentment. My dogs and cats are able to roam around their home as they please without causing conflict with each other due to the incredible space they have and safe outdoor areas. Your animals are going to be at home more than you will ever be, so providing a home environment that has access to nature, space and light will keep your animals happy.
The other part of environment comes from the people you keep in your circle. This includes friends, family, neighbours and your partners too. Really reflect on the people in your life. How do they make you feel when you are around them? Do you feel happy? Stressed? Drained? How do you feel after you have spent time with them? It is very important to look at the relationships in your life as these have a direct effect on your happiness. As for your partners, evaluate what makes you unhappy and then discuss with your partner what changes you both can make to improve each other. A lot of my clients have told me after working on issues with their partners or ending toxic relationships, their animals have become so much more relaxed and happy to be at home and their health and wellbeing increased.
Have you been working hard towards a promotion? Maybe you have been getting yourself to the gym or started an exercise regime? Or you could have been working towards improving your life by taking action and breaking habits. Whenever we aspire towards a goal or improving ourselves, always leave a reward at the end. It might be going to watch a movie, going somewhere special for dinner with your partner or a friend. Having a fun day sharing activities with your animals. Or it could be a bit of retail therapy! If we don’t reward ourselves for the hard work we put in, you will get demotivated. There will be no drive to continue on and keep on achieving. As I work from home, I can work easily seven a days a week. So I make sure I do reward myself by taking it easy in the evenings – I may go to the marina on Saturday night with my husband and the dogs, or go for dinner and drinks with friends. There needs to be some relief from your work and your obligations. Give yourself permission to reward yourself!
Stress and Your Reaction
This one is difficult to tackle, but not impossible. It is very easy to react to the situations or problems that come our way. Changing our reaction from high stress to indifference is a major key to improving our happiness for ourselves and our animals. Remember, if you are in distress, your animals will feel it and act it out. My animals constantly reflect when I am in distress, so I have made the conscious decision to improve myself for them.
One of the key solutions I use to manage my stress is exercise. Exercise is definitely a mood booster. Going to the gym and doing high intensity exercise is my release and improves my overall mood and wellbeing. If I am away and I cannot exercise I absolutely feel it. I will try to fit in walks where I can so I still feel active. Now you don’t need to go hard at the gym, but introduce exercise into your routine gradually. Start with walking; make it enjoyable so you will continue to do it. You can also get a personal trainer and create an exercise programme that suits your needs. Our bodies need to move and this will improve your mood.
Another great stress regulator is meditation. Statistics show that 20 minutes of meditation is equivalent to 2 hours of sleep! Meditation brings your mind to the present and draws energy to the frontal lobe of the brain where we make most of our decisions. Meditation will clear your mind, and clear your emotions. It helps you to take a step back and reflect how you will respond in a situation. It keeps you calm even in the most stressful situations because you are in control of your mind not the other way around. Stress comes from worrying about the past which you can’t change or the future which hasn’t happened yet. So our mind creates all these non-realities that cause us stress, so staying in the present is the only true way to de-stress. Your response to a situation is the stress not usually the situation.
Communicating with animals is based on being in a meditative state, so I practice this daily for my work. My animals love it when I meditate, they will often join me in my healing room and just absorb the energy. Start with 5 minutes of meditation a day, preferably at the same time every day. You can build yourself up to 10 minutes and then 15 minutes per day. You can use a guided meditation, just music or silence. Make it easy for yourself so you will repeat it again. You may not want to come out of it either! When you have meditate for a period of time it becomes a way of life and your animals want to be around you even more because that is there desired state of being.
Finally, put more fun into your life! It may be with your animals going for adventures together such as hiking or going to the beach, or it could be playing games together such as hide and seek or playing with toys together. Whatever brings you joy in life, do it! Catching up with friends that make you laugh, or going on spontaneous adventures. The more fun you have in your life, the lighter and definitely happier you will be. Your animals love to see you happy, it gives them excitement and joy to be around you. Animals react to energy and if you are light and happy so will the energy be. Don’t you love being around fun, happy people so do your animals. They give you so much every day, why not improve your happiness and make them happy too?