As impairments to good health go, I have slowly learned that excessive psychological stress is probably the second largest issue that people have to deal with. It is outmatched only by addiction – the most important one being to carbohydrates, particularly sugar.
Excessive stress is rampant in our society. I think it is mainly because we are 24/7 task saturated. We didn’t evolve to be hunched over computer screens 10 hours a day after sitting in traffic for two hours a day, with our text message, Facebook, and Twitter feed alerting us every five minutes the entire time. Many of us are simply out of bandwidth and it seems to be getting worse.
Combine that with rampant malnourishment (not of calories but of micronutrients – vitamins and minerals) and the toxic effects of processed food, and you have a perfect storm of ill health.
This type of lifestyle kills time for the important stuff – exercise, fresh air, and the silence needed for reflection. Caring for a dog tends to force this time into a person’s life.
Below: my dog Claire (and as a puppy above).