Wired for Connections
We as humans, are social beings. We are wired for connections with other human beings. Connecting with others gives us purpose and meaning to our lives. When we genuinely connect with others, we form deep bonds and trust with those individuals. We feel seen, heard, and valued. The “reward center” in our brain lights up when we make those connections because we are doing what we are wired to do.
When people are grieving, however, they many times tend to isolate themselves from the outside world. They want to be left alone, sometimes just to wrap their heads around what has just happened to their loved one and what is happening to their life as they knew it. Taking time to acknowledge the loss and the grief is important. You likely miss the companionship of your spouse. You did day to day everyday life together, and suddenly that is gone. That can be a very huge life altering fact to comprehend and work through. You want to be able to process it.
Stay Connected with Others
Allowing yourself some alone time can help you work through things. You must be careful, however, to balance the time you are alone with the time you allow yourself to be around others. Shutting yourself off completely from the outside world for long periods of time might not be a wise choice. In doing so, you might find yourself faced with the effects that loneliness can bring. Loneliness has a greater detriment to our lives than smoking, obesity, or high blood pressure. Loneliness increases anxiety and can lead to depression, which is one of the leading causes for disabilities worldwide.
You more than likely have so much on your plate right now with the changes in your life. You want to be sure to keep tabs on your mental well-being as well. As stated earlier, we are wired for human connections. It’s also important to note that studies show there are some health benefits associated with having genuine connections with others. It can boost your immune system and help you recover faster from illnesses. It can lower anxiety as well as lower depression. And it may help you live longer.
Spend Time in Nature
Before you try to make those genuine connections with others, you must look inward at how you presently feel and acknowledge those feelings. Don’t hide behind the, “I’m fine” response so many people are quick to give. Take time to be honest with yourself. A few ways to help you sort out those inner thoughts could be going for a long walk with nature, write in your journal, meditate, pray, or just sit in silence. These will help you get in touch with what you are truly feeling.
While you are doing that make sure to add this important step. Write and/or tell yourself that you are worthy of moving forward and continuing on. You still have life ahead of you and are here for a purpose. With so much on your mind and with all you have been through, sometimes people tend to overlook that fact or even feel it as truth. It’s imperative that you remember it, now and each day moving forward.
Be Gentle with Yourself
Being in touch with your thoughts and feelings and staying connected with family and loved ones who support you is a step in a positive direction. Notice I said support you. You want to be around positive minded people. Do not let negative people bring you down even more. It is time to feel the bond with others so you can be seen, heard, and valued again.
You may have to give yourself that push from time to time to socialize with others but it will help you in the long run. It will occupy your time and your mind, and give loneliness, anxiety, and depression less of a chance to create new issues. Consider it your daily dose prescription of moving forward toward maintaining a healthy mental-well-being.
Peggy Bell is the author of Life After Loss For Widows: Lifting the Veil of Grief, available here.
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