“When an eighty-five pound mammal licks your tears away, then tries to sit on your lap, it’s hard to feel sad.”
―Kristan Higgins (author, In Your Dreams)
When I visited my parents the other day, I saw him again. His large black eyes staring at me intently from behind the dining room windows, his two front paws tapping on the pane of glass with anticipation. He begin whining when I got closer to the house door. As soon as I enter, he comes barreling towards me, running, gaining momentum, his small fingernails sliding on the smooth wood. When he reaches me, his body launches onto my leg, latching on. I feel his energy, he is so excited a noise comes out of his muzzle that is not recognizable. He cannot take the excitement anymore, he detaches and starts running through the house, around and around he goes, sprinting, barking, jumping, just stopping abruptly for a lap of water from his dish, then off again. And while he does this, I think of how I have never in my entire life, have ever been so happy or thrilled. In fact, I don’t really recall anyone being so happy or thrilled that they had to run around the house because the happiness and anticipation was just so much. The funny thing is, I just saw sprinkles (not really his name, just covering it up for confidentiality) early that morning, not even two hours ago.
Why can we not achieve such happiness? I have heard people say that if you act like a dog when they are happy, then you will eventually feel the happiness. So out of pure curiosity, I acted like a dog, (when no one was around of course.) I ran around the house, jumping, with a big smile on my face. After the initial feeling of foolishness past, I actually did start to feel good, actually felt like a dog might have felt. That was until I looked out the window, and I saw my neighbor staring at me. Naturally I burst out laughing when I saw him looking, just because I can’t even imagine what he was thinking.
The point of this ridiculous story is not that I’m jealous of dogs, or that the fact my neighbor now thinks I’m crazy, it’s that our minds and bodies are in constant synch. One follows the other.
My physiology affects my thoughts, and my thoughts effect my physiology. If I am sad, then the simple motion of smiling, will make me feel better, because my body is telling me that I’m happy. It may sound weird, but try it. Act like a dog for a couple minutes, I bet you will start feeling better almost instantly. I’m not a huge fan of the phrase “fake it until you make it,” but when it comes to being happy, there is definitely some good truth to it.
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