Grab a Leash, Take a Gratitude Walk

Bella The Boxer Gratitude WalkStop! What are doing right at this moment?

Okay, silly question. You are reading this article, probably jumping back and forth between tasks. I know because I work in the office with my humans. They zip around in a whir of activity that makes this hyperactive Boxer’s head spin! It doesn’t make them more productive, either.

When the distractions start to get out of control, I take charge: I park myself next to their desks and start whining for a walk. It doesn’t take long and they give in. That’s when I become the teacher and the overworked and overstressed humans become the students.

I like to think of our excursions as “gratitude walks.” While I sniff around bushes and stare down squirrels, my coworkers get some quality time to reflect on all the things they are grateful for. This is a good thing, because humans who are grateful for what they have are a lot like dogs, i.e., they are more alert, have higher levels of energy, exercise more and sleep better. They are also more likely to achieve their personal and professional goals than people who are less grateful in their daily lives.

In fact, I suggest that all humans take their dogs out on daily gratitude walks. And, if you don’t live with a dog of your own, then volunteer as a dog walker at your local shelter, walk with a friend or walk yourself.

While you are walking, think about everything you are grateful for, even if you can’t think of anything beyond the basics like food and shelter. Nothing’s too small to be taken for granted.

And don’t forget to tune into your surroundings. Sure, humans aren’t wired to experience the world through their senses in the same way that a dog does (sniffing at the neighbor’s bushes is probably not cool). But, that’s no excuse for not savoring life and rushing though it at breakneck speed.

Here’s what I saw on a recent walk: Bright blossoms, multiple shades of green, pretty flower beds….and a cat, a crow and a gargoyle! (The gargoyle was a little creepy.)

Be like a dog. Open your eyes, ears and heart to the world around you. You never know what you’ll find.