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Stress, sniffs and the dog

/ Featured in Dogs

Dog Nose

Our world is incredibly fast-paced. In turn that means anybody with things to do gets stressed. Stress naturally falls in that space between the base of your neck and the middle-to-edge part of your shoulder. And it sits there and just radiates. And you think about it. Knead it awkwardly with your opposite hand. Maybe try and balance an ice pack right there. Ok, but now you have a client meeting. How about a pain patch? Alright that settles it for now.

At the end of the day, it’s essential to have some kind of work-life balance. You close one door and open another. That’s possible, right?

In the event that it’s not, you need outlets to deal with stress. In sickness and in health, I want you to remember the dog.

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.

― Josh Billings

It’s widely known that dogs interpret and follow our energies very closely. They watch for cues all the time relative to our eyes, body language, gestures and tone of voice. The mental and physical benefits of having a companion at your side are outstanding and save lives daily for those who have it harder than others.

One of the neatest things about dogs is their sense of smell. Dogs have a sense of smell 10,000 to 100,000 times as acute as our own. When it comes to their noses, dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors, whereas humans have about six million. So when it’s time to sniff out the drugs, yeah, a dog is a pretty solid team member.

Why bring up the smells? Because dogs can smell our stress. Ah-ha, tricky!

The stress hormone is called cortisol. Elevated levels of this hormone can lead to health issues such as a lowered immune function, increased cholesterol, high blood pressure, depression, heart disease…

When your body has that fight-or-flight mechanism, you release cortisol. If you’re me, this is when you grab an ice pack and tell your shoulders to RELAX.

Now there is good stress and bad stress of course, with good stress firing you up under pressure to complete some kind of goal. But too much bad stress built up without release is bad for us. And you know what, nobody wins from within in that game.

Dogs detect rising cortisol levels in our sweat and breath, thus knowing when our stress is starting to rise. Sometimes service dogs are trained just for this reason to detect elevated stress levels in humans.

It’s amazing to think that that with just a sniff, a dog can immediately understand you more deeply than anyone else. And if there is one thing on this earth that can understand you, it’s a dog.

Beyond the sniffing, dogs are excellent stress relievers in numerous ways. Consider the benefits of exercise with a daily walk, meeting new people with a cute puppy to focus the conversation on, and adding routine to your life in general. Sometimes the best way to relieve some angst is to shift the focus from yourself to something else – and yes I’m talking about taking care of your dog. It’s his lunchtime.

One last thing: being financially smart is important. So if you can financially and responsibly afford a dog, then congrats! You’re getting a new best friend.

“Dogs aren’t our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”

― Roger Caras

Image via pinterest.com