Every day of your life is an opportunity to be a blessing to someone.
- Ethel Chadwick, radio host
Do you want to be a more positive person? If you’re reading this blog, I’m guessing you do. So do I. In fact, that’s a resolution I renew every year. Lucky for me, I live with a wonderful role model for positive thinking—my dog, Winky.
Here are five tips I’ve picked up from her about staying positive:
1. Savor the moment.
I can get so caught up in my to-do’s that I’m thinking about what’s next on my list instead of being in the here and now. Not Winky. Whatever she’s doing—saying hi to a friend, chewing a bone, even just sniffing the air—she puts 100 percent of her attention and energy and enthusiasm into it.
2. Be open to new experiences.
I’m pretty adventurous, but still I find myself saying no things without even trying them. That new cardio class at the gym? Nah, I’m choreographically challenged. The romantic bestseller my friends are raving about? No, thanks, I’m into mysteries, not chick lit. How does Winky approach new experiences? With a healthy curiosity. Take the first time she saw the ocean, this past summer in Maine. She doesn’t like water, but she followed me onto the wet sand, sniffed rocks and seaweed, and then actually waded into the surf, like she was saying, “Hmm, I’m not sure what to make of this, but I’ll give it a chance.” What a positive attitude!
3. Get your rest.
Lack of sleep can give even a positive person a negative attitude. I know it makes me tired and cranky yet I persist in staying up past my bedtime, finishing one of those aforementioned mysteries or watching a ballgame that’s gone into overtime. Winky listens to her body. When it needs rest, she curls up in a comfortable spot, closes her eyes and goes to sleep. Good girl. Smart girl.
4. Expect the best.
Although her first owner dropped her off at the shelter and never came back, Winky hasn’t stopped trusting people. She goes up to friends and strangers alike wagging her tail, expecting them to be friendly in return. You know what? They almost always are. Sometimes they have treats for her too. Imagine how much more positive our interactions with others would be if we went into them with trust instead of with our defenses up, expecting the best instead of bracing for the worst.
And of course...
5. Don’t forget to play every day.
What do you think? Would you be a happier, healthier, more positive person if you were more like your dog?
Amy Wong is the executive editor of Guideposts and was a founding editor of Positive Thinking. She lives in New York City with her adopted dog, Winky, a natural-born positive thinker who believes that everyone has a treat for her and every day is the best day of her life. Amy hopes to be that optimistic someday (she’s working on it!).