One day I was sitting on the tandas (that's Malaysian for toilet) and noticed a tiny ant wandering about the bathroom floor. Hmmm...I wondered what a single ant was doing in my bathroom. Weeks later I saw the same ant, still wandering. My mind went wild with questions. How did it get there? Is it lost? Where is its tribe? How is it getting food? How is it even still alive? And, more importantly, is it lonely? I began to feel a little sad for the ant.
We know from animal observation that most are social creatures and experience loneliness. In fact, some have even been known to commit suicide when abandoned, a trait most often found in dogs and cows. Even birds feel loneliness…especially in captivity. And, a study done on carpenter ants revealed those in isolation had a shorter lifespan than ones kept in groups of ten.
Living in Malaysia, away from my family and friends, and with my husband traveling so much, I’ve experienced loneliness. It is quite different than having the night…or even two…to myself. And, even though I encounter people when running errands, there is no real social connection. Days and sometimes even weeks go by without face-to-face socialization other than common pleasantries with strangers. Yeah, I talk on the phone a bit; but it’s not the same. There’s something to be said for face-to-face time with those you love and, more importantly, touch.
Touch, in fact, is incredibly powerful. For example, kangaroo care, which is skin-to-skin contact, has become a popular way to care for premature babies. Although, ALL babies can benefit from it, as it helps stabilize heart rate, improves oxygenation and helps with bonding.
Adults can benefit from touch just as much as newborns. There’s nothing in the world like the feeling of two people in love spooning skin-to-skin. It’s wonderful!!! Even a hug from a friend feels good. Positive energy shared between two people…even if just a smile…is magnetic and very healing.
The positive experiences from connecting give off vibrations that helps your body form new blood vessels, improve circulation and reduce stress. Connecting is good for your health!
Unfortunately, connecting isn’t easy for everyone. Sometimes it is a specific situation that temporarily makes people want to avoid social situations and interactions with others. Other people have what is called Social Anxiety Disorder, which makes them fearful of social encounters. Therapy is often beneficial in these cases to uncover the root cause and heal it. If left untreated, lack of connection can give way to depression and illness.
We need connection. It is part of our life-source. If you feel disconnected, I strongly encourage you to seek help, whether reading articles or books, watching videos, attending groups or working with a doctor or coach. Working with someone else is especially important if you feel unsafe when alone with your thoughts.
They say, “There is safety in numbers.” When you're feeling disconnected or alone, it is a great time to reach out to someone. Write a quick note, post a private message on social media, send a Snapchat or make a good old fashioned phone call. It's these simple connections that can put a spring in your step and a smile on your face. :)