At our very core, humans have evolved to survive and thrive on connection. Our very being is based on having an “other”, or many “others” in our lives. Despite moves to come out of lockdown and back into a new kind of living, for most of us, our lives are still pretty much disconnected. For the majority, working from home, socialising differently, exercising alone is now how our lives are. So, in a world where the screen and smartphone replace real human interaction, we are now even more removed from real interaction and connection. Transactional connection, rather than heart to heart connection, lateral rather than vertical connection is the trend. The pandemic is not only Covid-19, but also a pandemic of compulsive attention to our screens which is changing the very quality and nature of our relationships.
If we think back to Noah’s Ark – the animals were led in two by two… Nature, and humans too are biologically evolved as social creatures that thrive on interpersonal interactions and connectivity. Our brains were designed for it, and our bodies react physically when we experience a shortage of interaction with others. Healthy interpersonal connections are the nutritional foundations or building blocks that enrich our lives on all levels. A sense of belonging, and fitting in is critical to our sense of well-being.
So, as you add “friends” on Facebook, and followers on Instagram, remember it is not the pseudo-connectivity that counts. It is the living, breathing human connection that counts. That real contact, however short it is, that is important. It is as important to make time for it in your day, as brushing your teeth and taking your vitamins. It will boost your serotonin, and wire in your happiness. Connecting with someone releases the cocktail of hormones and neurotransmitters that helps us to bond, feel closer to people, happier and even reduces pain. Connection activates the brain’s reward system and reduces our stress levels.
Instead of scrolling through your media apps, take the time to call or meet up with someone. The benefits will be so worth your while.