Surviving stressful times means attention to self-care of the body, mind and soul. Exercise, healthy eating, social connecting, prayer and meditation are all helpful. But don’t overlook the importance of casual connections, and see what impact you make on those who need your casual connection.
On Thursday, August 3 2020 Jane Brody, in her weekly “Personal Health” column, described the impact of social connections on well-being, especially on stress management during the pandemic. As you would expect, maintaining social connection with those closest to us is very important, but maintaining social connection with so-called “weaker ties” (i.e. acquaintances) also predicts a lot about well-being. Here is an excerpt from her column:
“Katherine L. Fiori, chairwoman of undergraduate psychology at Adelphi University who studies social networks of older adults, has found that activities that foster “weaker ties” than are formed with family and close friends foster greater life satisfaction and better emotional and physical health.
“The greater the number of weaker ties, the stronger the association with positive feelings and fewer depressed feelings,” Dr. Fiori said in an interview. “It’s clearly not the case that close ties are all that older adults need.”
And not just older adults, all adults. Dr. Fingerman said research has shown that, in general, “people do better when they have a more diverse group of people in their lives.” But as Dr. Fiori observed, “Unfortunately, Covid has severely curtailed our ability to maintain weaker ties. It can take a lot more effort to do this online.”
Dr. Fingerman’s research has also shown that people who are more socially integrated are also more active physically. “Being sedentary kills you,” she said. “You have to get up and move to be with the people you run into when exercising.” Consequential strangers also help your brain, she said, because “conversations are more stimulating than with people you know well.””
From “The Benefits of Talking to Strangers,” Jane Brody, NYTimes, August 3, 2020
You can find this article in full at this link:
At our August 4, 2020 “Take a Break From Stress” online meditation meeting, I recorded this video (audio-only can be found directly below the video) that is based on this theme:
Best wishes for a peaceful day,