We are all in the middle of an extreme global crisis. The very first instruction we heard from the start of this pandemic was “social distancing”. I got to know that at deeper levels, we are misinterpreting it. We have to follow “physical distancing”, but we need our social relationships more than ever.
In these stressful times, social media has acted as a boon to a lot of people who are living alone or who needed to interact with their friends or long-distance partners and various other people around the globe who sought comfort in being socially together.
Relationship Between Community and Healing
Researchers found that human beings generally heal from stress or trauma when they have skin to skin contact. You can also say that a sense of community makes healing faster. For example, the recent unfortunate death of George Floyd and other black people in the United States of America and also in other countries, have led to huge-scale protests all over the world. People sought comfort in their communities. Even white people supported these protests because we also belong to the super set of community, and that is humanity. These people empowered each other and shared their grievances. It gave them a sense of social bonding and reduced the feeling of abandonment or alienation of one particular race.
Even in rehabs, or in therapeutic interventions, all the people who are facing the same issues, come together and discuss their journeys, people around them listen, relate and add on their experiences as well. It is one of the most effective healing processes known to date.
To understand it better, let us discuss Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:
On the bottom-most level, we humans have basic needs like food, water, warmth, shelter, etc. These are the most fundamental human needs. We all need these things to survive.
Then comes safety and security. When you have a house to live, drinking water, food and warmth, the next thing you work for is your safety and security. You can see some people around the world who live in fear of being attacked or being hit by a calamity, for instance, will strive for more secure living conditions than anything else. Safety becomes a priority to them.
When you have all of your basic needs fulfilled, also you have safe living conditions, then the priority is social relationships.
Then on higher levels, we have things like achievement and self-actualization, which you can read about if you want to. Mainly we are focusing on social relationships and why are they necessary more than ever!
It is of utmost importance to understand that in these times, strengthening your bonds with your friends or family or both is very important. You may not be too close to your family, but this is the time to rebuild those relations again. Let’s not discuss only happy things, tell them about your anxiety. Sharing your vulnerabilities is also a great way of bonding with your loved ones. If you haven’t already read about Why managing anxiety is crucial?, then do read the blog post.
Connect with your friends, like good friends. Ask yourself who are those few people who would understand you? Reconnect with your old friends with whom you might have lost touch lately. Know about their life and what is going on with them. Strengthen your social relationships by reaching out to people through social media.
What else can you do?
Encourage people who are doing something creative in their free time. It might be something to do with a YouTube channel they have started, or might have learnt how to cook, might have started working out as a challenge, whatever it is, support them. That is the way they get a sense of belongingness.
The idea is to help people and support them, connect with them. And not just on social media, because it is a very shallow way of communication. Try video calling them. Ask them how they are doing actually, have candid conversations.
Connect with some older people who might be living alone or might be feeling lonely lately. Teach them how to use resources online and things like that. You might feel it is a small thing, but these might be one of the happiest moments of their lives.
Help people and tell them that it is just a phase and things will come back to normal slowly and gradually, they are not alone in this.
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”―Haruki Murakami
Also, the people who are already living with their families and/or have a loving relationship with their partner and/or have a supportive circle of friends around them, hold on to these relationships. There’s this video on What makes a good life? by Robert Waldinger on YouTube. You’ll be amazed to know that the secret of a long and happy life is nothing but your fruitful relationships. So, whatever you might be doing, take out some time for your loved ones as well.
So, the next post will be about some more intuitive psychological terms you need to know and what exactly is the difference between anxiety and depression.