It’s important to have deep connections with others. The lack of such connections can be more harmful to you than smoking or being overweight.
Studio 5 Relationship Coach Matt Townsend shares some ways to deepen the connections with others.
Some of this data came from a TedX talk by Emma Seppula, Ph.D. from Stanford University.
WE ARE WIRED TO CONNECT
– We are wired to mirror and resonate with others. When they walk in the room, you can tell what is going on with other people. That is why when people frown, our brain activates the frown muscles in us. The mirroring is the source of empathy, which is why when someone falls, you startle with them.
DANGERS OF LOW SOCIAL CONNECTION
– Data shows that 1 in 4 people don’t have anyone they can share their problems or concerns with. 25% of our country has no one to connect to.
– Low social connection is actually worse for us than smoking, obesity and high blood pressure.
– There is more anxiety, depression, suicide and violent acts perpetrated with the people who are socially isolated.
– Loneliness is the #1 reason people seek therapy today.
BENEFITS OF HIGH SOCIAL CONNECTION
– There is greater psychological well being, physical health, increased immunity, faster recovery from disease and better immunity.
– Increases chances of longevity by 50%.
-It’s not the numbers of friends you have, but it’s about the connectivity.
5 TOOLS TO INCREASE YOUR CONNECTION
FOCUS ON QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY
– Research shows it’s not the number of friends you have that matter, it’s the depth of connection you’re achieving that really matters.
– Focus on one person, not everyone.
– Quit chasing the Facebook numbers. Research shows that the happiest people on Facebook have fewer than 340 friends.
-ACTIVITY= Identify 3 to 5 relationships where you would like to deepen the connection. Try to understand why those connections are so important to you and possibly try to see why those relationships might be suffering. Identify in your life how your desire to connect with the masses may be negatively impacting these more important relationships. Remember, if we can just increase three of these connections, your life will be considerably happier.
EXERCISE YOUR COMPASSION
– Compassion is innate . . . it is our first instinct.
– Rats will go out of their way to help someone who is suffering.
– Primates will help those in need.
– Two year olds will get up and walk over and help an adult who is dropping things.
– People, when given money, are more likely to give their money to others who need it than to keep it for themselves. Their first instinct was to give it to others who need it. The longer they thought about it, the more they might do other things with it.
– When one person acts compassionately, it impacts three degrees of separation from you.
– ACTIVITY= Dedicate some time to actually think deeply about some of the people you want to connect more deeply with. Ask yourself the following question – “What is it like to be them?” Deeply think through their life from their perspective. Think about what it might be like to be them, or married to you or friends with you. Go through this process until you have some deeper sense of compassion for them and then go and serve and try to connect with them. Your deeper compassion will help create deeper connections.
LET OTHERS SERVE YOU
– Service, and the compassion that it creates, are contagious, so get the party started by either serving others or letting others serve you.
– Let people serve you, so they can feel good about you . . . don’t turn down a sincere effort to serve you. . . in the end it will be good for everybody.
– ACTIVITY= Ask your family members to help you cook dinner tonight or to run an errand for you. Call your parents over to help in the garden and have dinner.
PERFORM A SMILE STUDY
– When we smile, we activate the smile muscles in other people, whether they smile or not.
– Research shows that people are happier when they give more, than when when they receive. Giving money makes us happier than receiving money.
– ACTIVITY= Focus on the gift of activating another person’s smile muscles today. Experiment by smiling at every person you come across today and notice how they respond to you and how you end up feeling. Talk about your smile study with your family at dinner and challenge them all to do their own smile study.
UP THE TOUCH
– Touch increases endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin and sense of well being.
– Research shows that touch helps us heal and feel loved.
– Especially focus your touch on those who are less likely to get touch . . . many of our seniors for example.
– ACTIVITY= Actively notice how much you touch other people in a day. Make it a point to lovingly touch every person in your family every day . . . even once, and identify the benefits that touch will bring. Notice if you see the results of consistent touching in your family if it is altering your level of connection to others.
To learn more, contact Matt at http://matttownsend.com/
Matt is conducting a special Communication Class for Couples.
9 AM – 3 PM