Mindfulness and pets
Mindfulness. You may have heard the term, but what does mindfulness and pets actually mean?
The definition of mindfulness is: the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. In plain English, putting all your focus on whatever it is you are doing. Some of the benefits of practising mindfulness are better concentration, reduced stress and improved physical health. Sounds appealing doesn’t it?
Well, before you sell everything to spend your days on top of a mountain, mindfulness can be achieved by something you’re probably already be doing.
Spending time with your pets.
Here are three easy ways to practise mindfulness with your pet:
There’s nothing quite as soothing as patting a beloved pet. It’s calming for you and pleasurable for your pet. The next time you settle in for a patting session, do it slowly. Bring your attention to your hand. Focus on the stroke and the way the fur feels beneath your skin. Focus your attention on the movement of your hand and your pet. This will bring you into the present moment.
Taking your dog for a walk may be something you do daily, but how often do you really focus on the experience? Try choosing a set path. A walk with a definite start and end point will help to get into and wind-down the practise. Following your dog’s pace, be as present as you can in each step. Dogs will often stop to sniff and take in their surroundings. Do the same! Animals are wonderful teachers, reminding us to pay attention to the smaller things in life.
Have you ever noticed how animals will sit for long periods of time, simply resting? They’re not necessarily sleeping they are just being. If meditation is new to you, this can be a great way to get started. Start for five minutes to begin with. Sit with your pet, close your eyes and breathe naturally, just as your pet does. Initially your mind may jump around. You may think about things you need to do that day or what you did the day before. The more you sit and focus on your breath, the quieter your mind will become. Let go of the past and the future, spend time with your pet in the now.
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The next time you hear the term mindfulness, it may not sound like such an unobtainable idea. Even better, it’s something you can do daily with your favourite fury or feathery friend.