We asked our dog, Chip to share his stress reduction techniques because he never seems to let life’s ups and downs bother him. Chip is a Bassett Hound who practices relaxing everyday. He lives with two Great Danes and some humans, but he knows how to keep calm even when there is turmoil with package deliveries, visitors invading his household space or a Great Dane puppy pulling his tail.
Although he is short in stature, Chip has devised stress reduction techniques to rise above it all and enjoy a calm and relaxing life. Here is his advice:
Learn to express your feelings. If there is a situation that is bothering you, be willing to honestly and respectfully communicate with those involved what you are feeling. That may include people who are bothering you as you try to sleep or it may be my brother, Brett, who is a Great Dane puppy who tries to steal my chew-toys. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build. A couple of good howls usually does the trick.
Learn to be assertive. Deal with problems directly as they occur. If you can, try to anticipate a situation before it gets stressful or prevent it from happening at all. Being a Bassett Hound means that I am low to the ground, and often I get overlooked with the 2 Great Danes stealing the attention. Also, sometimes the 2-legged folks miss the dinner feeding time, and I have to come and bark to remind them. Speaking up is important as long as you remain honest with your remarks.
Don’t try to control what you can’t control. There is a lot in life that is beyond your control. This is especially true when I am dealing with Great Dane puppies. Instead of stressing out over my young Dane brother’s clown-like behavior, I focus on things I can control such as how I react to him. I just find a quiet place to get away from it all and take a nice long nap. Stress reduction techniques include knowing when to work with life the way it is, and not always trying to change behaviors or life situations that will never change. For example, I know that I am short in stature and that will never change, but why stress over this fact? People will have to love me the way I am.
Forgive others. This is one of the most important stress reduction techniques I use. Just accept that the world is an imperfect place where everyone will make mistakes from time to time. When my long floppy ear gets stepped on, I forgive. When people forget to fill my empty water bowl, I bark and then I forgive. I have learned not to be angry or resentful. Don’t use your energy being mad. Forgive and move on. There is always time for a nap.
Set aside relaxation time. Stress reduction techniques should always include relaxation. Include rest and relaxation in your daily schedule—two naps are my minimum. This is your time to take a break from all responsibilities and recharge your batteries. Life can be stressful, living with other less organized individuals sharing your space and trying to maintain a schedule for regular meal times. Separate your stressful situations with time for relaxing and rejuvenating rest.
Do something you enjoy every day. Make time for leisure activities that bring you joy, whether it is exercising out of doors, playing with others or enjoying a nice bone. Life is too short to fill up your days with stress.