Gretchen Rubin—the best-selling author of Better Than Before and The Happiness Project , an account of the year she spent testing principles about how to be happy—has blogged about what her puppy, Barnaby, is teaching her about human endeavors. For instance:
• It does no good to vent my temper (and may do harm). When I say no sharply and move away from Barnaby to teach him not to nip, that’s fine. When I speak sharply from impatience, perhaps because he’s had an accident, I confuse and upset him. Calm, deliberate speech is the best approach.
• Pets make a home feel more alive. Having a dog snoozing on the floor at my feet as I type on my computer leads to a very cozy and happy feeling.
• Relationships are a key to happiness, perhaps the key. Barnaby is a whole new relationship: intense and different from relationships with people.
• For happiness, it’s as important to give support as it is to receive support. Barnaby needs lots of attention and time, plus a fair amount of stuff. Having a dog is a big source of happiness, and giving to a dog is just as significant.
• To live a happier, healthier, more productive life is less about learning new things and more about whether you put things that are already known into action.
This article appears in the January 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.