Human beings aren’t meant to be solitary, and isolation can have profound effects on our physical and psychological health. If you’re living alone, here are a few reasons why you should get a pet to keep you company.
Human beings are social animals. From the moment we started walking upright, we had to depend on each other to survive – and we also depended on other animals, which gradually evolved from wild animals into pets or livestock.
However, if you live alone, you might risk isolation – especially these days, when we’re trying to keep a distance of six feet for our health and safety. While you may enjoy your own company, isolation isn’t good for your psychological health. If you live alone during this time, you might want to consider getting a pet to make sure you aren’t entirely isolated.
But please remember two very important considerations; a pet is for life, and not everyone is an animal person.
Human Beings and Social Isolation
The psychological need for social interaction is so strong that being alone for too long can have remarkable adverse effects on our health. A person who lives in isolation may be less resilient in negative situations since they lack a support system. Social isolation has been proven to be bad for your psychological and physical health.
In the age of COVID-19, isolation has become a prominent issue in the psychological field. However, psychological research on the subject goes back much farther than that.
The neuroscientist John Cacioppo, who has studied isolation since the 1970s, maintains that loneliness can be deadly. Since humans are hardwired to want company, prolonged isolation causes stress. Prolonged stress can damage the immune system, make sleep difficult, and cause health problems such as high blood pressure.
Isolation can have a profound psychological effect on human health and happiness. Moreover, this isolation isn’t something that interaction on social media can fix – while it’s nice to text a friend or chat about your interests in a twitter thread, that isn’t a substitute for in-person human connection.
Pets and Isolation
However, it has been shown that animal company can be a substitute for human interaction. Human beings have an incredible capacity to form psychological bonds with things that aren’t human – it’s how we managed to tame dogs and how cats managed to tame us.
If you’re living alone, you might be in danger of isolation – especially if you also work from home. However, this isolation can be mitigated if you’ve a pet to keep you company.
In a survey by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute, 80% of pet owners admitted their pets made them feel less lonely. The same study also found that pet ownership could facilitate human interaction through dog walking activities. The study reported that 54% of pet owners said their pets helped them connect with other people.
For people who lack a social support group, a pet can provide much-needed emotional support, which can reduce the psychological stress caused by isolation and the negative impact on the pet owner’s health.
If you’re living alone, and feel lonely, it is important to realize that this isn’t good for your physical or psychological health. If you struggle with social isolation, you might want to consider getting a pet to keep you company.
In today’s social climate this is an extremely important topic. One on which I am sure readers have many opinions. Please share them below in the comments section. I reiterate – a pet is for life. Only give a home to an animal if you know you can give them a good home.