Make connection count
July 16, 2020 10:23 am
Research shows 1 in 2 Australians feel more lonely since C19. Physical isolation does not necessarily have to create loneliness. The authors of this study recommend staying socially-connected while remaining physically apart. In addition to phone/zoom calls and exercising while physically distanced, they suggest letter writing and making a gift for friends/relatives that you cannot see in person.
The authors don’t go into the reasons why these suggestions will be useful. However, other research has shown that the combination of connection and contribution is particularly impactful in helping humans create meaning in their lives. These days of texting and picking up a last-minute gift provide contrast for making a real effort to connect with another person psychologically. The art of letter writing offers the opportunity to slow down and think deeply about what you want to say to someone. Simply writing your feelings will help you process your emotion and at the same time inform a loved one about your experiences. Asking about their concerns and experiences helps them feel cared for and appreciated.
Likewise, making a gift versus just buying something takes consideration and deepens your psychological connection. Think back to childhood experiences of making a gift for a parent or grandparent. Remember that regardless of what comprised the actual present, the beauty was in the effort and thinking about them as you constructed your offering. For an adult version of a ‘sticky-tape-craft’, find an article or blog on the internet and rather than just pin it to their timeline, take the time to write them a note letting them know why you think this is just right for them – personalise your contribution. Or find an old photo and write a note to remind both of you of a shared experience.
It’s not just about making someone feel good. Knowing someone cares for us stimulates a part of the brain that not only makes us feel good but helps us with memory and learning. Likewise, research shows that generosity benefits the giver emotionally and cognitively.
These small things make a difference for you and your friends/relatives. These are the things that we can all do to help each other adjust to a new way of working and living.
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photo credit: Edwin Andrade on Unsplash