In my practice, I see clients for a wide range of issues and long may it continue because it makes life so interesting. However, one thing many seem to have in common is a need for connection and, this is now widely recognised as a major factor in the upsurge of people seeking help for depressive disorders.
As primitive beings, connection was essential as being a part of a group gave you a greater chance of staying alive. However, today the need for connection is far more important for our mental health.
Feeling connected gives us a sense of belonging, of being wanted, understood and valued, feelings often missing in the lives of those suffering from anxiety and depression. Psychologists call this social support and it has been found to have far reaching benefits for our physical health too.
For example, a link has been established between those with good social support and faster rates of recovery for coranary heart surgery. In addition, it has been shown to slow progression of people already diagnosed with cardiovascuar disease.
So, given that in this technological world we can all send an instant message from the phone in our hand, why are so many of us feeling the crippling effects of not being connected?
This is because while a quick text is a great way to make arrangements, but it doesn’t connect us to the person at the other end. To do that, we must share our space with others in a meaningful, present and compassionate way. Sharing experiences with empathy and goodwill connects us and gives us that sense of belonging that we all crave.
In our fast paced lives, we are struggling to find the time and motivation to engage in this way, my own girls regularly report that they have ‘spoken’ to a friend earlier that day, when in fact they mean they have been sending each other messages. A quick text or like on Facebook is often considered ‘to be making an effort’.
Couple this, with the beliefs that we are often harbouring sub consciously about ourselves i.e I don’t have anything interesting to say or I am too sad today and so, they will not want to speak to me and, it becomes so much easier to stay in our comfort zone.
The problem is, then a vicious circle of negativity begins to take hold i.e nobody likes me, I have no friends and because you don’t get out and see people, it becomes true for you.
So, I am making some exciting plans to encourage people to make some meaningful connections in my little part of the world, I am just finalising the plans and will share them shortly.
In the meantime, why don’t you give this some thought today and consider what stops you from truly connecting with others.
Wishing a wonderful day, full of eye contact and smiles x