You know why so many people are stressed in today’s world? Because they are too focused on themselves. Too focused on serving their own interests. Too concerned with getting theirs.
Many of us do not even mean to be selfish. But, regardless of our intention, we have gotten sucked into it. And it is stressing us out.
It is time to direct our attention outward to embrace a simple solution for dissolving our stress: human connection.
Today’s technology lets us live under the illusion of being connected. But, if we truly felt connected, then why is unhappy the default state for the majority of us?
Because our devices have taught us to be selfish and inwardly focused to a fault. We live in and interact via these virtual worlds so much that we barely notice how much time we spend alone. We even use “social” media to fulfill our own needs for recognition, purpose and power more than to connect with others.
But the buzz never lasts. It usually leaves us feeling more stressed than when we opened our accounts for “just five minutes” – aka one hour – of refuge from our unhappiness.
Humans are social creatures. We thrive off of connection and community. Yet our culture seems infatuated with deactivating our biology, as technology lures and fear drives us into isolation.
When we spend more time with our devices than with one another and consume the insecurity underlying the messages that they circulate, we shut down. When we shut down, we have less capacity to take in and to digest our lives. This invites stress.
When we feel supported, loved and integrated, we feel less fear and more joy. This melts stress. When we open ourselves to others, we also create more capacity to greet whatever life presents without creating new stress.
Connection increases our capacity by infusing us with positive energy and good space. Stress is no match for this energy and cannot survive in this space.
The days that I teach and coach, I feel more positive energy to apply to other areas of my life. That is not a coincidence.
Connecting with people electrifies us. If we are so focused on ourselves that we miss taking in the positive vibrations of those around us, then we deprive ourselves of this potent energy source.
When I am full, I do not lose my energy from serving others. As I support students and clients in filling themselves up, their energy recharges me. This is because we are all part of a greater whole. When we spark others through our presence, we energize the whole that houses us.
The more positive energy that I have, the less stress that I feel because I have the vibrancy to welcome challenges. I can tackle them with less fear and doubt and even can find joy and gratitude in them.
When I am serving others, I also am not concerned with my own problems. This creates space from persistent wants and needs that otherwise would suffocate me. Constriction in the mind increases pressure, so space can reduce, remove and prevent stress.
With this good space, I can be more present to experience what is happening in the moment. When I am more present, I can access even more positive energy to sidestep stress with.
Good space also affords us perspective. When I lack good space or when I am in bad space, events hurtle at me faster and more intensely. With good space, I can see that these events do not affect who I am, which makes them feel less important and, therefore, less worthy of stress.
The more that we connect with others, the more capacity that we have to make decisions from holistic viewpoints. When we create with an energy and from a space that account for others, we create less stress for everyone involved. Because we are part of that greater whole, we benefit from others enjoying lower stress levels.
There is a time to be selfish. If you have spent your life putting yourself second, it may be time to put yourself first. Ultimately, though, we fill ourselves up so that we can overflow and can contribute to our communities from a full place.
When we act from fullness, even when we make decisions primarily to serve ourselves, they automatically will serve others too because we are embodying the wholeness of which we are part. Individual wholeness serves collective wholeness.
There is no app for happiness, and there is no substitute for the presence of a human being.
It is time to put down our devices and to pick up our communication. It is time to get outside of ourselves and to reconnect with the people in our lives who magnify our capacity. It is time to replenish our community deficit.
Can you begin to spend less time by yourself and more time with people who inspire and nurture you? Can you begin to take an active role in building community?
What is the right way for you to experience connection? That is up to you to define. Find the people and groups that energize and expand you.
Watch how community enhances your health and happiness by lowering your stress. Watch how community lowers your stress by enhancing your health and happiness. It is as we are: all connected.
Now, disconnect from this blog and go connect with a human being.
Enjoy the positive energy. Savor the good space. Co-create your capacity to conquer stress.
A Maur Unity collaboration, edited by Maura Bogue