Like us, they have a consciousness that holds awareness on par with (and beyond us in certain ways) what humans have. We can think about what happened in order to learn from it.. We can go into the future and plan out what to do about a situation. These cognitive abilities serve us (and also can create emotions like fear and regret, so can also work against us).
The consciousness of dolphins seems to be a step up from our inclinations in the following way. I think one reason they heal and regenerate in the ways they do has to do with their emotional body, and rest assured, they have one! They are very present time oriented though I am convinced that they, like elephants, have an amazing memory, and that they, like humans, know how to anticipate the future. They are absolutley geniuses at knowing how to work with etheric energy, the positive and negative energy valences in nature. The only place to do that successfully is to be 100% in the here and the now, where there is no regret for the past nor fear of the future. If we lived more potently in time present, we too would discover remarkable abilities to heal ourselves, especially emotionally, but physically as well.
Dolphins are known for the joy they express and the contagion of joy people feel when around them. I defy you to experience that dolphin energy and let it in and at the same time worry about what is going to happen when you go to the office on Monday. I am fond of saying, joy has no opposite because joy isn't due to external circumstances. Joy is a state of consciousness that derives from being absorbed in the eternal NOW. Dolphins know this and demonstrate this to humans over and over.
Are all dolphins joyful all the time? No. Dolphins traumatically captured and deprived of their normal life and abused can be utterly miserable. They are miserable because their conditions do not allow them to express their true nature. Interestingly, that is the source of all human suffering as well. Dolphins living with their pod in the wild are joyful most of the time, and not even something like a little run in with a shark will interfere with that state of consciousness. That mega-pod spotted off San Diego showing dolphins stampeding together in a certain direction . . .whatever the reason for the stampede (I personally think it was about huge schools of fish), I guarantee you this - they were having a fine time swimming together
Watch and learn, humans. Watch and learn.