The power of human connection and community: DAY 2 of 40 DAYS OF GROWTH
From Friday 19th January, everyday for 40 days, I will be sharing something each day that has either (1) changed my way of thinking or perspective, (2) helped me get through a challenging period of transition, change or growth, or (3) changed my life for the better. I've called it '40 Days of Growth'. I'd love it if you followed along with me on this journey - contributing what has also helped you to learn, grow and change. And, if I can support you on your own learning journey, please do let me know :)
Day 2 of 40 DAYS OF GROWTH
The power of human connection and community
This is an unbelievably important idea and crucial for not only coping during challenging times, but also on a day-to-day basis. We're social animals who live and learn in relation to others. When we miss out on connecting with others it affects our wellbeing in many different ways. Below are a few of the reasons. I'm only listing a few as I am going and connecting with friends after posting this :)
p.s. I put 'human' in the title above but, if there's no humans available, finding a dog or a cat to cuddle can also help! #lovedogs
Neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman talks about why we are wired to connect: Across many studies of mammals, from the smallest rodents all the way to us humans, the data suggests that we are profoundly shaped by our social environment and that we suffer greatly when our social bonds are threatened or severed. When this happens in childhood it can lead to long-term health and educational problems. Essentially, our well-being depends on our connections with others. Link: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-we-are-wired-to-connect/
The Mental Health Foundation of NZ includes 'CONNECT' among one of their 'Five Ways to Wellbeing', and with good reason! Talking and listening to and with others; being there for others and feeling connected helps us to feel good! It's such an important idea that I wrote a blog post last year about creating meaningful connections with people: https://www.jenyinsights.com/blog/2017/10/9/connect-one-of-five-ways-to-wellbeing
Physiology: The power of human connection and touch
You can't deny that a hug from a person you care about (or your mum) can help you to feel instantly better. There's also that little biological and physiological need to procreate too, but that's not the point here...
We learn better when we're in relation to/with others. Simply put, we're relational beings. Even in an individualistic Western society, we still need to collaborate to solve our individual and bigger problems as well as to learn from others.
The importance of community
This used to be in the form of tribes. Then communities. Then families. Now, we find community amongst our family, our friends, our colleagues and our networks - whether in person or digital. For me, community is critical and has been instrumental in my development as an individual and professionally. For example, being a part of a community with like-minded practices and similar beliefs and professions (such as mindfulness teachers, yoga teachers, social entrepreneurs, activists etc who are all a part of the Mindfulness for Change community) gives me the family-type dynamic and community that I crave while living away from home.
Importantly, seeking connection and comfort does not equal 'weakness'
This is a 'big idea' in itself. Brene Brown talks about the power of vulnerability and how it allows us to live whole-heartedly. Rather than being stoic about whatever problems may be going on in your life, reaching out to someone who cares or someone who has been there before is life changing. Once we can begin to understand we are imperfect humans, experiencing the whole range of human emotions, and being accepting of this - we can really live and be who we are. Food for thought! Note: also written very quickly as the sunshine is calling my name ;)
More on this later. Time for me to enjoy the sun and company of friends! :)