Yesterday I was taking my usual hour walk near the beach before going to the gym. In between dodging young mothers who were pushing gigantic baby strollers I became acutely aware of dozens of people walking their dogs, many of them carrying on a conversation with their pet much like the mothers with their tiny tots. I felt a rush of nostalgia as I flashed back to the wonderful times I had with my loving, ever joyous pets. As I enjoyed the sea breeze, my mind turned to examining the importance of the connection that humans have to these wonderfully loving creatures. So, after wearing myself out lifting weights at the local health club, I went home to do my research on Google. There it was, all the proof I needed that caring for a pet has proven health effects. In fact, dozens of research projects show that interactions with animals on a consistent basis can actually reduce stress, lower blood pressure and even lower our cholesterol level. Mental issues caused by both stress and isolation can be eliminated. by caring for a pet. The list goes on and on. The human/animal connection is good for our health.
As a natural extension of that line of thinking I begin to wonder if the human/human connection has the same health benefits. Back to Google and guess what? The research on that subject was quite limited. Isn’t that interesting? The truth is, our connection to others in a loving, caring way is both beneficial and essential to good mental health. And yet, so many of us put that aside to live our busy lives, worry about the future and attempt to control what we can’t control.
It was then that I made a decision. I am going to spend more time with those people that I keep being too busy to see. I’m going to make some calls, have a few breakfasts and lunches with friends and maybe even take a walk on the beach with them.
James Mapes is the founder of Quantum Leap Thinking™, creator of The Transformational Coach™, expert on the psychology of “applied imagination,” best-selling author, highly acclaimed business speaker, consultant, seminar leader and personal excellence coach.