One Simple Secret To Feel More Connected And Less Lonely
Connection Is Good For Your Health
Did you know that healthy relationships are good for your physical health?
I mean, we all know that healthy relationships are good for us…
But do you know just how many positive impacts they can have on your wellbeing?
Researchers have found that people who feel deeply connected reap a number of physical and emotional health benefits. Some of these include reducing stress levels, feeling happier, living longer, experiencing less depression and having a stronger immune system.
We Are Made To Be In Community
The opposite of connection is loneliness and long-term loneliness is toxic to our mental and physical health.
So while seasons of loneliness happen for all of us, whether it’s through the death of a loved one, loss of a relationship, empty-nesting, moving, etc., it’s important that we don’t stay in a place of loneliness for long stretches of time.
We were made to connect and be a part of community — it’s vital to our health.
And despite all the hoopla about the value of extroverted personalities, it’s the quality of our relationships that counts more so than the quantity.
So remember, before you feel like you need more people in your life, focus on making the relationships you already have better. You may discover that the connection you want is closer than you think.
Different Types Of Communities
Last year, I didn’t have internet at home so three times a week I travelled into town to work at Starbucks, where I had an “office” for the price of a coffee. Of course, the staff got to know me over time.
However, now that I have Internet at home, I haven’t been to the coffee shop for a long time.
Recently, I popped in again and the young girl who waited on me didn’t understand my order. Another girl standing next to the new employee knew who I was and said cheerfully, “I’ll get that for you!”
When she returned, she said to me, “Where have you been?! I’ve missed you!”
Now, that’s just a little bit of connection but it feels good to be known and missed.
Feeling like we’re a part of community is good for us and we can have a number of different types of communities where we feel connected:
- School friends
- Church groups
- Sports team
- Writing group
- Book club
- Online communities
- Organizations we volunteer with
These are some examples and I’m sure you could add to this list based on your own interests and activities.
How To Develop Deeper Connections
At the same time, have you ever been part of a lot of groups and still felt lonely? I know I have… so how do we develop quality relationships? How do we connect deeply?
The answer is more simple than you think: we care.
When we have compassion for each other, we connect deeply because we feel like we’re not alone.
There’s a sense that we’re in this together and that somebody cares and has compassion for us. As my mentor, Cheryl Millman says, there’s a lot of power in simply being present when someone needs us. In those moments, the very act of showing up for someone can comfort them.
A. A. Milne’s beloved Winnie-the-Pooh stories are full of these kinds of compassionate acts, like this one:
Being Heard Is Almost Like Being Loved
Without a doubt, one of the best ways to show that you care for someone else is to listen deeply. When you give others this kind of undivided attention, they feel like they’re in heaven because they feel heard and deeply cared for.
Over the years, my husband and I have worked with some couples who were facing some significant challenges. And yet, I have seen the coldest, most hurting man open up when his spouse truly listened to him.
What’s more, I have seen a deeply wounded woman open up to her partner when she feels like she’s being heard.
David W. Augsburger said, “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”
So when you’re feeling lonely or disconnected, remember that you can take a step to feel more connected with those around you. Showing the people around you that you care by listening deeply will help you to connect with them.
Anyone can learn how to connect deeply when they practice showing others that they care.
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