Notes and Mentions
Articles mentioned in this episode: [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/11/well/family/check-in-text-friendship.html https://www.betterup.com/blog/human-connection](https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/11/well/family/check-in-text-friendship.html https://www.betterup.com/blog/human-connection) 8 Insanely Effective Ways to Connect with Anyone You Meet
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Tina: Hey Everyone, I?m Tina.
Serena: And I?m Serena and we are the Mental Health Mamas.
Tina: Welcome to No Need to Explain, we are so glad you?re here.
Serena: First, as always, a quick disclaimer.
Tina: We come to you NOT as mental health professionals or experts in the field, but rather as parents with lived experience who are on a mission to normalize the conversation around mental health.
Serena: If you or someone you love is experiencing a mental health crisis, please seek professional support. You?ll find a variety of resources in our show notes and on our website, NoNeedToExplainPodcast.com.
Tina: Just an extra little note about resources before we start today?s episode. For all the listeners out there in the United States, we wanted to make sure to mention the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline that was initiated over the summer.
Serena: Yes, you can call or text 988 to be connected with a trained crisis counselor who can help you if you?re experiencing mental health related distress. This could include thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress.
Tina: The lifeline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to anyone living anywhere in the United States and you can call for yourself or you can call for someone else you?re worried about.
Tina: So Serena! Welcome to the third season of our podcast!
Serena: We are excited to be back and connecting with you through our podcast!
Tina: While we?ve taken a break from dropping episodes this summer, we?ve been hard at work to bring you some really great topics as well as some amazing guests for our third season.
Serena: We are really excited to share all of it with you. And to kick off the season ahead, we want to talk today about the power of connection.
Tina: Yes. Our favorite. Right? Being connected. Connection is defined as, ?a relationship in which a person, thing or idea is linked or associated with something else?. But I think that true human connection goes beyond a basic association or link. What do you think?
Serena: I would agree with that. So real connection with another person. I think it involves a give and take and that both people need to benefit from the interaction. And I think, there needs to be a sense of significance in the interaction. When I think of the word connection it?s more than just a hello, how are you doing? I think it?s possible to feel a connection with the person who is working the checkout at the grocery store but that?s not really the type of connection we?re talking about. Does that make sense?
Tina: Yes, I think it does. I feel like I am a natural connector with everyone I encounter but I don?t always walk away from those interactions feeling super connected.
Serena: Right. Because you need something in return.
Tina: Yeah. If someone is talking at me or just sort of dumping their stuff without a give and take then I don?t really think that is real connection.
Serena: Mmhm. Right. So the title of our podcast is a result of those really amazing connections that we?ve been fortunate enough to experience with each other and other people we have met along the way as well.
Tina: Right. One of the keys to a real connection is being understood and seen. We have found that when we have those real connections, that there is no need to explain because those people totally get you.
Serena: Exactly. And so what we know is that there is an unfortunate epidemic of loneliness in the United States. According to BetterUp.org, a recent survey revealed that 3 in 5 Americans are lonely.
Tina: Add to that the sense of isolation that we have all experienced as a result of COVID and I can imagine that there are more people than ever feeling lonely which is the opposite of experiencing connection.
Serena: And it?s so interesting to me that we?re all technically more ?connected? than ever in the sense that we have all these connections through social media and just about everyone can be reached immediately by cell phone. So Tina, do you remember what used to happen when you called someone and they weren?t home?
Tina: Yes. Leave a message after the beep? Which I don?t know that our kids would understand because cell phones, it is not cool to leave a voicemail (just saying, I learned that this summer!). So they text and they don?t know the busy signal as well.
Serena: The busy signal! Yes!
Tina: Weird. There certainly wasn?t the same expectation that a person can be reached at any time. I mean, everything is in real time now, right?
Serena: Mmhm. And I think that that contributes to our loneliness.
Tina: Yeah, so say more about that.
Serena: OK, so stick with me for a minute here. So we have established that we can reach another person immediately by phone, for the most part, or by emailing and I feel like we know so much about people in our lives, so much more than we used to thanks to social media and people kind of posting all of the time. We know what people are up to. So let's say you post a picture of what you?re up to today?and maybe not many people like it and no one comments. You haven?t gotten a call or a text today or maybe in the last hour and your email inbox, it?s overflowing with email, but, if you are anything like me, it?s all the things you signed up for at one point and you?re not really interested in them any more. So all of these things?How are you feeling after all of this?
Tina: Yeah, pretty lonely. You?re hyper-connected but not experiencing any real connection.
Tina: OK, so let?s talk about what we can do about this. Let?s start with a study that came out this summer that was written about in several publications.
Serena: Mmhm. I love this particular study because what it indicates is that a quick reach-out to a friend is more powerful and appreciated than we might have previously thought.
Tina: Mmhm. So in a New York Times article about the study called, ?Text Your Friends, It Matters More Than You Think?, the lead author of the study, Dr. Lui, is quoted as saying, ?Even sending a brief message reaching out to check in on someone, just to say ?Hi?, that you are thinking of them, and to ask how they?re doing, can be appreciated more than people think.?
Serena: That sounds like a totally doable connection. I know that I tend to get a little overwhelmed with the idea of, OK, I haven?t reached out to that person in a long time. And what is that gonna involve and is that a big chunk of time to sort of re engage with that person. And I think that sounds doable even in the midst of our fast paced lives. And I know that when I receive a text, email or phone call like this, it makes a huge difference in my day.
Tina: Mmhm. Me too. So I think the big takeaway here is that even a small gesture can make a big difference in someone else?s life. I know that sometimes when I am thinking about my kids in the day, who are old as we have established here many times on the podcast, just sending them a heart or some emoji. It doesn?t have to be a big thing. It doesn?t have to be big or overwhelming or a big long paragraph. Just something. In fact, my kids probably appreciate just a little something. Not a big long paragraph. Yep.
Serena: Right. And by doing this outreach, then we are more likely to receive that sense of connection as well. Maybe you get an emoji back and, yeah, there is like a give and take. So the question is why are we so concerned about connecting anyway?
Tina: So, according to a blog post about human connection on BetterUp.org, I quote, ?Having a strong support system helps people overcome challenges more easily and maintain a state of mental well-being. Human connection also decreases health risks and improves physical well-being and longevity. Strong social connections strengthen the immune system and increase your chances of a longer life by (wait for it) 50%.?
Serena: Mmm. Yeah. That is huge. Yes to all of those things! So let?s switch gears a little bit here and talk about how we might create those connections if they don?t already exist in our lives.
Tina: One of my favorite ways to connect with people is to be my transparent self and show a little vulnerability.
Serena: Mmhm. Yeah. Often if we are brave and are willing to put a little of ourselves out there, to share a little bit of our story or experience, then the other person is more likely to reciprocate and share a bit as well.
Tina: Yeah. That shared vulnerability, that kind of nodding of heads, that sense of me too?that is real connection right there.
Serena: And just a note that if you?re struggling to find connection and dealing with loneliness that can be pretty profound, you may want to consider seeking professional support. Somebody who can help you think about how you can gain more connections in your life. Talking through your challenges with your doctor, a counselor, a coach or a spiritual leader, it could be helpful in helping you move forward.
Tina: Yes, that?s a great point. And speaking of asking for help, if there?s something you need that a friend or acquaintance can help you with, just ask. We understand that asking for help is not always priority for people. And we know it is hard. It might seem a little backwards but people like to feel helpful and one of the ways we can better connect is to help one another out. This also goes back to that vulnerability because asking for help can sometimes require a bit of bravery.
Serena: And at the same time, being able to offer help to others is really great too. And if you don?t know where to start, you might try volunteering somewhere. What I do know is that you will end up feeling good about being helpful to others and you might just make some good connections in the process. And here is a great suggestion from an article on lifehack.org, to think about making connections when you enter a room, with a whole bunch of people, picture everyone there as a friend instead of a stranger. Tina, this is something that I think you could do professionally.
Tina: hahaha. I might just have! So I love?so Serena and I did the same job for a long time and we were in a school together once and I was greeting everyone at the door. And welcoming people. They were coming for parent teacher conferences. And she said, ?Oh. Do you know that person?? I said, ?No. I have never met them before.? And she said ?What??!!? I do also think that this season we will reveal and maybe emphasize the fact that asking questions is a great way to feel connected to people. So, we?ve thrown lots of different things at you today, but one last suggestion, which is the counterpart to asking good questions, is to be a good listener.
Serena: Yeah, so it sounds a bit counterintuitive but remember that we need to develop that sense of give and take and we can only do that when we are good listeners as well as talkers. So asking those good questions and then actually listening to the responses!
Tina: Absolutely. So what we really want you to hear today is that human connection is so very important and that it might take a little work on your end but at the end it?s so worth it. It?s so worth it.
Serena: Yeah. And I believe that if we can all work to make a few more connections then maybe we can all be just a little less lonely.
Tina: Mmhm. And speaking of connection?we would love for you to connect with us! We would love to hear from any one of you at any time. You can send us an email, you can message us on social media, we hear a lot from people and you can call and leave us a voicemail. We got several this summer. We love to hear from you. Tell us what?s good in your life, what might be challenging, we are here for you and literally there is no need to explain, although you have to explain a little bit I guess if you call. So just call to say hi! We?re happy to hear from you.
Serena: And so podcast friends, we are, as always, grateful for all of you listening and supporting us. We know that there are literally millions of things out there trying to get your attention and we truly appreciate that you?ve chosen to spend this time with us. And we are so glad to be back and dropping podcasts again. So you can help us out by visiting Apple podcasts, leave us a review, subscribe and please share our podcast with others. And you will find more content on our website NoNeedtoExplainPodcast.com.
Tina: And this is your gentle reminder to take good care of yourself while you are also taking care of your people.
Serena: Thanks for listening!