Social Relations- Aren’t they equally Important too!?

There’s another really powerful way to manage your anxiety, and that is through our social connections. I want to begin by taking issue with a term we’ve all come to know so well, social distancing. We do not want to practice social distancing. That is the wrong framing of what we should be doing. What we want to practice is physical distancing. We want to stay physically apart from somebody. In fact, our social networks are so powerful to our mental health so I want to claim this is not the time to socially distance. It’s a time to socially reconnect and restrengthen. What we want to do is the physical distance, but socially connect, and restrengthen, reconnect, restrengthen, connect, etc.

Our social world is really important for our ability to cope. We are social beings from birth. There’s some research on this, not all of them, which I love. We know that one of the best ways to reduce that stress, we can measure with course also we can know this very well is through the skin to skin contact. That it really is the way we naturally react after traumatic experiences. We can go beyond this and just think about some of the terrorist events that we’ve seen happen in the last little while. Virtually every time there’s some attack on a community, at first the community reacts with fear, and concern, and worry and disguised and sorrow. But at some point, usually, not too long thereafter, the community comes together, and sometimes there is a formal ceremony of some sort, sometimes it’s less formal, but we see humans who have just gone through some trauma together, pull together. In fact, this is a core part of their healing, of their dissipating the stress, and feeling like, “No, I’m part of the community of people who love and support one another.” That feeling of a community bond is extremely powerful.

Psychological Theory

But again, the critical point here is the importance of those social needs. One more context just to stress this, whenever we do therapeutic interventions, often we want to include a group therapy component as part of it, it’s really important for the healing process. Again, knowing others are going through what you’re going through, that they understand your feelings, that they share your feelings, that you are not alone in the situation you’re in, is so important and so comforting to human beings. That’s why we use this as part of the therapeutic process so often, we know that people going through some treatment together are very powerful forces for each other’s success and so we want to harness that force for good.

So all this to say, in this time of COVID, we also want to do that same thing, we want to really rely on our social connections to help get us through. So family, friends, let me get to new adoptions. Let’s start with family and friends, first of all, families are core and whatever you may think of your family, maybe you don’t always all get along all the time, this is a time to reach out to them and to connect with them and to ask how they’re doing and to share how you’re doing and don’t feel a need to make it all rosy. It’s not about making each other feel good all the time, sometimes it is sharing the anxiety, it’s just the fact that they care and that you feel connected to them, that’s really important.

There’s a joke that says real friends help you, now friends help you move, but real friends help you move bodies XD

A little extreme, but you get the idea. Who are your real friends? Who are those ones that are really near and dear to you and those friends you should be reaching out to? Maybe even old friends that you haven’t talked to for a while, this is a great time to reconnect with them as well. I want to talk a little bit about the depth of the interaction too. We’re all used to using social media, but we use social media often to have really light surface interactions with people. We want to get deeper. So maybe it’s time to connect with brand new people and reach out to them. So connect with people, connect with your friends, connect with your family, but learn a different way of connecting. Again, the social media, the stuff we do on Facebook, it tends to be so shallow, we post some little thoughts, we react, we can sometimes just press a button or a thumbs up and do an emoticon or something like that. It is a way of maintaining a connection, but we don’t really want to maintain a connection here, we want to use those connections, we want to mine those connections to really get the power of social interaction. Have to get to that emotional level of the interaction and I just don’t think an emoji will do. So in my opinion, we need to maybe find ways of using things like Facebook and Messenger and stuff, much more deeply, but I really think the text has its limits. So much of our emotional state, which is really where we need to connect, is conveyed through our nonverbal cues. So maybe it’s time to use FaceTime, but again, use it differently than we have, not just a quick check-in, how is everybody doing? Nice to see you, blah, blah, blah, blah. No, it’s how you are doing? How are you feeling? What are the challenges you’re facing? Wow, that sucks, wow, that must be challenging. Learning to listen to one another, I highlighted listening before, I think, but learning to listen to one another well and let that person know you heard them and respond back, those interactions are really really important, really really powerful. The human voice is extremely extremely important.

Those social connections are so important, do not socially distance, socially approach physically distance, which I think is my final slide on this one. Find ways to be socially together but physically apart, because those social connections really insulate our mental state and help us to stay balanced and managed.

Something tech, mixed with some Health and some marketing with a pinch of Entrepreneurship too. Loves to think what Future has for us.