Web MD had a wonderful article posted online about 20 things you can learn from your pet. All of them were good suggestions, but some spoke to me more than others. For instance, “live in the moment” and “forget multitasking;” although these were two separate recommendations, they seem related.

Oftentimes, especially in this age of constant technology, people tend to do at least three things at once; listening to Pandora while emailing and talking on the phone or texting a friend while watching TV and talking to a significant other. While we may feel we are getting more done this way research has found that multi-tasking is actually less efficient and you do each task less well. Attention and memory suffer when you try to do too many things at once and you may actually lose time. In addition, since you are focusing on several activities at once, you are likely not giving your best to any of the activities. How many times have you realized that you have not really heard what someone has been telling you because you were also texting or emailing?

Finally, the article noted that “planning, reminiscing, or thinking about anything other than the current activity can undermine happiness.” Thus, by multitasking, we may be causing some unhappiness or stress for ourselves, and that is never good!

Instead of trying to get four things done at once, take a lesson from your pet. Follow your dog’s lead and simply walk when you are outside (rather than talking on the phone or checking email). Watch as your cat lies in the sun and soaks up the warmth, not worrying about also texting or checking Facebook. Instead, think about how you can enjoy and put your all into each activity you are doing.

Written by: Ellen Kinney, MA, LPC

(The full WebMD slideshow can be found here: http://pets.webmd.com/slideshow-things-you-learn-from-pets?ecd=wnl_dog_091411 )

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© 2011 Linda Chassman, PhD., LMFT. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to reproduce for educational or therapeutic use, as long as full copyright and contact information appear on the reprint. For all other use, please call or email Linda Chassman, PhD., LMFT at 720-266-4444 or [email protected]