If you’re a constant worrier, you’re not alone. 40 million American adults live with anxiety disorders. One of those chronic worriers was Tom Baker, a Tennessean who runs a television production business. He worried so much, felt so hopeless, after a business failure and trouble with the IRS, he says, that it became dangerous. He lost 30 pounds as a result of the stress, and couldn’t function as a father or husband.
Until he started to notice his dog’s approach to life.
When Baker really took note of how his mixed breed rescue dog Mango looks at life, and tried to see life through his dog’s eyes, he found relief from the chronic worry that had besieged him for most of his life, and a path to peace and happiness. Baker shared the experience in his new book, “One Dog’s Faith: How My Dog Helped Me Trust in God and Overcome Chronic Worrying” (which is written from Mango’s point of view), and gave his top tips for how to stop worrying and love life like a dog.
The biggest thing I learned from Mango that started my journey towards minimizing worry was the word ‘today,’ Baker says. She lives for today. She lives for now. That’s all that exists to her. If a chew toy breaks, she puts it down and finds another one. So what?
As a human, I hold on to yesterday, Baker says. I hold on to last week. I hold on to what might happen tomorrow. Dogs can care less. That was the number one secret just get out of yesterday, get out of tomorrow and enjoy today. Today is an adventure. It may have its struggles, it may have its difficulties, but it is an adventure and it is ours to enjoy.
That was the number one secret just get out of yesterday, get out of tomorrow and enjoy today.[the_ad id=”8684″]While humans allow excuses to get in the way of about everything, Baker says, dogs don’t wait for all the pieces to come together before taking action. They’re not going to say, “I want to play fetch, but I’ve got to go answer a text first. When it’s time to play, to eat, to go … they don’t let “buts” get in the way, he says.
When Mango gets to go in the car with the family, it is the greatest day ever, Baker says. The first thing she’ll do is press her nose up against the window. That is her signal to say, ‘Please roll down the window.’ There are so many smells and there are so many blessings out there. I watch her. She wants to take it all in, and that was one of the other things that really helped me in times of worry. It’s like I can be in a desperate situation and forget that there’s blessings everywhere. They’re all around, when we’re worried, we just focus so much on the problem or the struggle and forget to stick our head out the window and just look.
If nothing else, he adds, simply watching a dog stick their head out the window, how can you not smile?