“I know exactly what you mean! I’m like that too!”
Local Martha Organization was visiting us. I had baked a pie according to my mom’s recipe. “I am a kind of a person who doesn’t like complicated baking. It is so hard if you need, for example, to do many different doughs! Not my thing.”, said the other “Martha”.
“I know exactly what you mean! I’m like that too!” When I said those words, I felt it; the feeling of connection. A warm feeling that the other person, even though we knew very little about each other, understood me.
“Modern life is making us lonelier, and recent research indicates that this may be the next biggest public health issue on par with obesity and substance abuse. (…) We feel less connected to others and our relationships are becoming more superficial and less rewarding.”
Those words are from the article The Loneliness Epidemic: We’re More Connected Than Ever But Are We Feeling More Alone?
We are social animals. A need to feel connected to other people is built-in us.
The bad thing is that feeling connected and being surrounded by people have very little to do with each other. On the contrary, you may feel yourself even more lonely when there are a lot of people around you. In the city context, there is a word for that; “urban loneliness”. Alarming is that more and more people are suffering from that, and that urbanization is globally growing all the time.
I have always found it hard to reach out to other people. On the other hand, I’ve always liked to be alone a lot. However, during my depression I learned how important it is to talk more and be more open to others. It is one of the most effective ways to take care of your mental health.
Joining the Finnish Martha Organization was an amazing experience for me. Even though all the other “Martha’s” were older than me, I felt that I was in the group where all were like me.
I realized that before I had just tried to find the feeling of connection from all the wrong groups and places.
But how to make it easier to reach out to other people?
A couple of years ago, I wrote a post “Meet your friends in nature”.
“Nature is the place where people tend to be more relaxed and available. Nature’s rhythm slows down people too. In a good way, that is. You’re more focused and available to your friends. And that often means better conversations.”.
During our Martha evening, I noticed it be very true again.
There has been made many studies how nature affects us.
“When participants viewed nature scenes, the parts of the brain associated with empathy and love lit up, but when they viewed urban scenes, the parts of the brain associated with fear and anxiety were activated. It appears as though nature inspires feelings that connect us to each other and our environment.” (From the article: How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing).
Nature, in other words, can add the possibility for experiencing feelings of genuine connection. Connection that can work as a medicine for making us feel better.
So widen your view for new possibilities to feel connected.
The one(s) may be in a surprising place. It may be the retired woman or man sitting alone in the park. Or the person who you have ran into many times in the jogging track.
Put your mobile away and reach out to other people. Open your mouth and say something.
Talking about the weather is a clichè, but it can also be the beginning of a good conversation.
In the evening, after “Martha’s” had left, I sat down to admire the sunset.
I thought how I have noticed that no matter what the thing is -whether it is relationships, personal health, business or whatever- if you start to dig that topic deep enough, you end up finding a handful of words. You notice that, in the end, all life goes around just a handful of words.
A connection is one of them. That is why it is so important to seek it. A connection to other people, yourself and all life around you.A feeling of being connected is what makes us happy and keeps us healthy. Click To Tweet