Ever feel drained when other people are around? It is good to connect with others, but sometimes I just can't 'people' any more. When the opinions and perspectives all start to collide in my head, I realise that the only solution is to shut myself away for a little.
Moments of solitude can give you space to breathe again; you can gather your thoughts, connect with your emotions, and learn how to listen to your body again. But after a short rest, it is important to reconnect. If we leave it too long, it will only become harder and harder to engage with the outside world again, and this can lead to social anxiety.
To give you that big push out the door, and into the world of human connection, you just need to understand the Four Corners of Connection -
Firstly, there are four very good reasons to connect with others, and
Secondly, there are four ways to improve the quality of that human connection.
So let's start with four good reasons to connect with others. And there is science to back it up! –
· 1. Neuroscientists have discovered that we learn more, produce more, and we are generally happier when we connect with friends and family. Connecting with others develops more dimensions to our brain, and it gives our lives meaning
· 2. Studies have also shown that the more we are introduced to new experiences, such as connecting with other people, the more dopamine is produced. Dopamine is basically the feel-good chemical in the brain. We can get these new experiences by connecting with brand new people, or connecting at a deeper level with people we already know.
· 3. The production of dopamine is not guaranteed with every human connection; it depends on the quality of that interaction and your interpretation of that connection. If you interpret the human connection as nurturing or empathic, for example, then it is likely to produce more dopamine.
· 4. When you connect with others, you start to understand more about yourself and others. A great deal of this is trial and error; we make mistakes, and that can be difficult. But you need to forgive yourself for these mistakes because they help us to understand what works and what does not.
By now you are hopefully convinced that human connection is important and that you need a bit of it now and again. But how can we improve the quality of our human connection? –
· 1. What are your priorities? When you interact with others, sometimes the relationship will be the priority, sometimes some sort of task, and sometimes it is your self-esteem that is the priority. You cannot make all three of equal priority. If you notice that there is tension or potential for conflict with someone, one way to help is to clarify your priorities. Do you think it is more important to achieve a task, maintain your self-esteem, or preserve a relationship?
Want to know more? Book an appointment today.
Chris Warren-Dickins LLB MA LPC
Psychotherapist in Ridgewood, New Jersey