Growing up, I would always hear the phrase "Dogs are a man's best friend," but I had no idea that rang true until I received a dog of my own.
I welcomed Sophie into my life eight years ago after she was given to me as a birthday gift. It was love at first sight at when we both met. Since getting my Cocker Spaniel, she has enriched my life and made me healthier and happier.
We have shared many adventures together over the last few years as we travel the world together. From Singapore and Europe to Mexico, she is always there to witness my highs and lows in life, and probably one of the few dogs in the world that has traveled to many countries.
I frequently share on Instagram my personal stories of traveling the world with my furry companion and how she saved me over and over again during some of the lowest moments of my life.
From going through a bad break up to having panic attacks and having nervous breakdowns, I now no longer face those issues thanks to my beloved companion. To simply put it, having a dog has changed my life. She fills my life with meaning, and teaches me about unconditional love, forgiveness, loyalty and companionship every single day. If you're lucky enough to have loved a dog, you would be able to tell anyone that dogs have the profound ability to not only sympathize, but to help heal. Which is why, it is no coincidence that dogs are brought into hospitals and rehabilitation centers to make people feel better, physically and spiritually.
With that being said, from my personal experience, here are five benefits of having a dog in your life.
1. My Dog boosts my mood.
Sophie helps me in every aspect of my life including joining me in my yoga and dance journeys. When I was traveling the world and living in Italy, I dedicated every single performance to her because she was the main reason for my success. I brought her with me everywhere including rehearsals. As a dancer, the tediousness and strenuous demands of dance meant that I would be facing injuries, stress, anxiety and face a full range of emotions every single day.
Sophie was there throughout it all to calm me down when I was overwhelmed at times, to shower me with her warm, wet kisses after every rehearsal, and to provide me with support by just being there watching. Psychologists from Miami and St. Louis Universities found that the benefits of having a canine companion can be equivalent to having a human companion.
2. My Dog is better than medicine.
I look forward to coming home and being greeted by Sophie everyday. Even if I went downstairs for two minutes to get the mail, she still welcomes me home at the door as if I was away for a long time. Being a "dog person" has restorative benefits. Last year, a study found that owning a pet–-especially a dog–-improved cardiovascular health by keeping people active. At some of the lowest points of my life, Sophie helped reduce stress responses in my body, and lowered my blood pressure, cholesterol levels and weight. She automatically improved my mood just by allowing me to pet her and be in her presence.
To me, dogs are magical creatures that help ward off bad energy. It is no surprise that dog owners have been found to have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, fewer heart attacks, and according to a study by the British Journal of Health (2004), dog owners also have the added benefit of having fewer medical problems than those without pets.
3. My Dog helps me stay active.
Another added benefit of having a dog is that she encourages me to exercise more! Sophie and I go for walks at the park every morning at 6 AM,12 PM and 5 PM. After which, she spends her time watching me do yoga or circuit exercises at home every morning. She loves the energy I give out when I exercise. Apart from the dog walking alone, dog owners were also found to achieve more advanced stages of movement compared to those who own dogs and do not walk them. The Journal of Physical Activity and Health (2010) concluded that dog walkers generally walked about an hour longer than their non-dog walking counterparts!
4. My Dog helps relieve stress.
One of the best benefits of having Sophie is that she is a master at helping me relieve stress and feel calm. Sophie is a great form of support when I get frustrated about not nailing a yoga pose. For some unknown reason, whenever she's with me when I do yoga I seem to be able to remain so calm that I am able to focus better on my poses.
No matter how angry, stressed out, or anxious I may be feeling, Sophie seems to know that her presence will always snap me out of that state. I am dependent on her as much as she is on me. According to a study from SUNY Buffalo (2006), 240 married couples with dogs were subjected to various types of stressful tasks where they were either alone, with their spouse or were able to see their dog before or after the task. Unsurprisingly, the lowest responses to stress were among those who were allowed to see their dogs. Maybe there should be a mandatory “bring your dog to work" day! Sophie and I love splashing on Radha Beauty Lavender Oil for better sleep and a stress free day.
Eight years later, our bond is even stronger than before and I can't imagine what life will be like without her. Whoever said that diamonds are a woman's best friend, obviously never had a dog. They shower you with unconditional love and affection, and are also interested in meeting every single new person who walks through the door. You can't help but go along for the ride.
Does your dog help you on your journey to mental, physical, and emotional health? Let me know below!
Originally published April 6, 2017
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Watching Angela “Blac Chyna” White’s transformation in real-time has truly been a sight to see. It wasn’t that long ago that she announced that she was reversing her cosmetic surgeries in an effort to go back to who she was before the world came to know her as Blac Chyna. In previous interviews, she stated that she was dissolving her facial and lip fillers, removing her breast implants, and getting a butt reduction, as well as removing the dimple piercings that enhanced her fame and controversial tattoos.
In a recent Tamron Hall interview, the mother of two said that she has “fully recovered” from the procedures. She is also celebrating one year of sobriety and opened up about being worried about how her new journey would be received by others.
“I’ve been in the entertainment industry for so long, right, and of course, like, you know, coming out, I’m like young, I’m gonna do wild things as we all have,” she said.
“...I feel like by me being vocal and showing everybody you can change your life and things can get better, like through myself, that right there is an accomplishment, and that’s a part of freedom, too.”
But as she started on her journey, many people have shown her grace, which is something she’s grateful for. “And then the fact that people have been showing me grace, it’s like amazing,” she said. “And I feel like when I did it, I just did it. It was more so like spiritual thing and I feel like people see that, and I’ve always been like my authentic self, so what you see is kinda what you get with me, and that’s just kinda what it is.”
Chyna, who recently received an honorary doctorate from Sacramento Theology Seminary and Bible College, has also repaired her relationship with her mom, Tokyo Toni. The social media celebrity surprised her daughter on the Tamron Hall Show. Prior to the sentimental surprise, Chyna dished on the reconciliation and having a better understanding of her mom.
“I must say, some of the things I have to take accountability for because, like my actions. As a mother, you don’t want to see your daughter doing certain things ‘cause it’s like it doesn’t matter what my past was or what we’re going through, I didn’t raise you that way,” she admitted. “So, it’s like, okay, maybe I was a little bit wrong. Maybe I was acting out a little bit. But I feel like as we grow older, I kinda see more, and I understand more.”
Chyna will be starring in season two of Fox's reality competition show Special Forces: World's Toughest Test.
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