Connection: 10 Things
#34 in a series of wild and precious things to build emotional health
Aug 3, 2020
(reading time: 3 min.)
  1. TWIL (This Week I Learned.)

This week I learned about connection.    A recent study on octopuses showed that the normally asocial animals will suddenly become prosocial — like mice and humans are already known to do — when on MDMA.

The fact that invertebrates with so little in common with humans want to connect (on MDMA at least) tells us how very ancient this stuff is. In fact, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood, social behaviour, sleep and sexual desire, serotonin, is shared by both vertebrates and invertebrates. And that means that it’s becoming more and more clear that prosocial behaviour including emotional connection is very possibly primal.  Not only octopuses on ecstasy, but also bees, slugs, crabs and have been shown to display something at least reminiscent of emotions.

We’re hard wired for emotional connection.

And, when we practice connection throughout our day, with acquaintances, people we run into in shops and on our daily errands, with co-workers, we end up healthier: physically and emotionally.

2. Quote

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

— Martin Luther King Jr

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”  
 ―  John Lennon

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves  to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection  that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and  affection.”

— Brene Brown

3. Prompt

When was the last time you did something kind for someone just to be kind? No expectations, just a simple act of kindness.

What happened? What did you do? Did you see the results or do you have no idea of the impact? How did you feel?

4. Quest

Recently, I came across this landmark study of over 11,000 at the Relationships Decisions Lab at Western University in London, Ontario.

The conclusion: Who you pick to date matters less than the relationship you build.

Relationship building matters. The connections that result run deep and include physical health as well as emotional health. I think I am not alone in realizing the importance of connection during the pandemic.

For some, it’s super easy to integrate connection into their daily life. Many of us tend to be either a little anxious or a little avoidant — and that makes healthy connection a little harder sometimes.

Here are a few ideas for ways to connect in your daily life:

  • Obviously, we need to start with: Put down your phone :)
  • The next conversation you have, drop any thoughts about yourself and think only of the other person.
  • Maintain a curious stance :) throughout your day.
  • Practice smiling and making eye contact…only if it feels authentic.

5. Level-UP / Go Deeper

Building the muscle of listening to other people, really listening, is not easy. But it’s an important first step in connecting to those around you. Connecting a little bit deeper to the people you see each day — yes, your family and close friends but also the people you see in shops and on the street — makes us all a bit healthier.

Try to listen “actively” to at least 3 people each day…

  • First, pay attention :)
  • Give feedback — ask for clarification, make sure you’ve understood correctly what they’re saying.
  • Avoid judging what they are saying, or even needing to give your opinion or advice.
  • Respond in a way that feels loving. Respond in a way that feels like perhaps how you might want someone to respond to you. This can be so so simple. We crave being heard and seen — it’s a basic human need. So when you simply spend five minutes really listening to people around you, the result can be sometimes overwhelming.

6. POD Poem of the day   Michael S. Harper: American History

7. Podcast     (The Nod — Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings)

8. Video   (Kermit — Rainbow Connection)

9. Hero: Joshua Foer, Atlas Obscura
Why?     This guy, in my opinion, has simply led a life doing things that are a bit off the beaten path, quirky, not easy by any means, but that subtly make the world a little closer.

10. Take Care of Yourself This Week and Share if you know someone who might like this.

Wild  and Precious Podcast, the audio partner to 10 Things, is available  everywhere you download podcasts. Connection episode with Cate Baio, transformational coach,  Thursday.

Just Start —

Let's Do This!