Freedigitalphotos.net/Image courtesy of Stock Photos Studies have demonstrated that connection affects our mental and our physical health
As someone who has just taken the first tentative steps into the world of Freelance writing, one thing has becoming rapidly evident – the necessity of taking proactive, conscious efforts to keep interacting with others.
Being with others is not an indulgence – it is a necessity and luckily, an enjoyable one at that!
Maslow's Hierachy of Needs is a Psychological Theory which describes the priorties for human beings. It goes with out saying that food, water, air are at the bottom, followed by, on the second level, a roof over one's head and having enough money. On the fourth level is self-esteem and self-respect, feeling appreciated. On the very top layer, we feel we have made the contribution to society that we have wanted to.
Wedged right in the middle, on the third layer, is a sense of belonging, as sense of being connected with others. This could go back to survival being more likely when we are around others who will befriend us, help protect us, and us, them. Like wolves, humans are pack animals, social creatures.
Isolation can lead one to start thinking of oneself as being somehow cut off from humanity. You forget that you are, essentially, the same as everyone else. You forget that someone else had a bad day at work, or similar fears, or you forget to celebrate each other’s joy. Making a living for the sake of making a living does not bring one true satisfaction .
If you spend enough time alone, you forget how to laugh, how to empathise, how to listen, how to share, how to accept and say thank you – you forget how to be a person. This gives us self-esteem and self-respect, and finally a sense of self-actualisation, that we have made a moral contribution to society - the next two levels of the hierarchy.
An experiment was done in Psychology where monkeys were given to real monkeys or wire mother monkeys to see how this affected their development. The monkeys who had wire mothers failed to thrive and survive. This was also the case with Romanian orphans who were not picked up. From this, we can see that touch is vital and connected with the human need for interaction.
I am writing this because, before, when I went to university, I spent more time with a dear friend of mine. We would catch up at the university swimming pool and do laps. We spent time together anyway. Most of my friends also happen to be in my neighbourhood. However, I wondered if previous to spending more time writing, others used to interact more and that got me thinking to write this article.
However, not interacting as much can become a risk for writers who intend to eventually make it a full-time pursuit as they spend increasingly more time in front of the computer screen. This increases risk of depression, to name just one outcome…
So, enjoy your space, and me-time, but remember to connect with others…and even better, away from a computer screen, too!