When FACEBOOK reminds us of the MEMORIES with family & friends before the lockdowns/ Circuit Breaker, the first question that comes to the mind is “When will things go back to normal?” Since most of us have had to adapt to being at home due to the situation for almost a year, it has become a habit just not to go out unnecessarily. This has disrupted our social behavior and networks. Everything has shifted online and a large part of the population is feeling lonely, depressed, agitated, which basically affects the emotional and mental state. These enforced periods of isolation are changing our social interactions.
For hundreds and thousands of years, humans only communicated in person, but in just the past few years they have started also communicating online. Today, people communicate more online than offline. Thanks to the digital world! We can communicate and still stay in touch with our loved ones around the globe easily and not have to depend on letters, cards or telegram like we did in the past.
OFFLINE – ONLINE Connections
Humans are social creatures. We need to socialize to keep our sanity. Socialization produces a feeling of happiness, it reduces stress, anxiety, depression. It also improves cognitive function, quality of life and longevity. It is more fun to do anything in a group as it keeps the motivation going and it boosts individuals to go that extra mile to achieve anything.
What about those who are not very tech savvy? Sadly, our SENIOR POPULATION is getting the full brunt of this situation we are in today. They feel really lonely being cooped up at home, not being able to meet their family and friends. Fear and sadness takes over and most of the time they get agitated by the smallest thing, for example the fear of hurting themselves or trip and fall when they go out with family for a dinner, visit someone’s home, or even go for a simple walk in the park. They are not used to the outside environment anymore due to the confinement in their home for the past year. This whole scenario only pushes them to spiral down both physically and emotionally.
As for the YOUNGER POPULATION, they are so much with technology that their world will come crashing down if there is ever a disruption with the internet connection. As it is they spend more time on the internet (eg. gaming, homework, school projects etc.) than playing outside in the nature with their friends. They adapted very fast to being connected with friends online but they too are getting frustrated as it’s been too long that they have not been able to hang out with their friends as and when they like.
Every part of the population be it the young, old, young adults, older adults, all are merely coping with loneliness of not being able to socialize.
FLOW OUR WAY THROUGH
When we are in a flow state, everything is calm and every moment is enjoyable. There is no stress or anxiety. It is so important to create that calm within us especially when there is so much chaos outside. Not being able to socialize can create chaos in our mind because being part of a group or being with another human being is more fun, more powerful, we feel supported and feel more loved too. Studies say that spontaneity, cooperation, communication, creativity, productivity and overall performance skyrocket when people do things together in a group. It’s amazing how we learn to socialize, make friends, bond and create trust with people we met for the first time while doing things together. We do experience this all the time for instance when the office comes out with team building programs, annual sports day or when we are seated with strangers at a wedding … we make conversations and create contacts, in short we network.
Mirror neurons are a type of brain cells that respond equally when we perform an action and when we witness someone else perform the same action. Thus, the neuron “mirrors” the behavior of the other, as though the observer was acting itself. When the mirror neurons are activated we become the mirror of the situation.
These neurons active in any social context helps boost the experience of FLOW. The role of the mirror neurons in the creation of a group flow experience is key for both individual and group flow. If we are in flow, people will subconsciously like us, copy or emulate our state, so our strength in flow extend to perceived outer reality and also gives us a positive feedback loop, reinforcing the flow experience which is so much needed. These kinds of experiences carry over to the people observing, as well. The overwhelming emotion that comes from witnessing group flow moments is what gives us chill bumps or makes us respond in an emotional way.
BEING IN FLOW IS BEING POSITIVE
Flow is contagious, humans are wired to seek out what they like, and what everyone likes is positive, happy, and fulfilled individuals. The flow in this way gets emulated by others who observe individuals in flow and are drawn subconsciously to it. So the more time we spend in flow, the more you feed the group flow and the more it comes back to you. When groups of individuals flow together, magic happens, trust replaces fear and collective potential naturally emerges. And that is why it is so important to socialize and not shut ourselves within the 4 walls of our house.
RESTART in Small WAYS and create that Social Flow Alignment
Once situation gets better, we may not be able to go back to doing things at a certain pace or pick up from where we left but for sure going slow and taking one step a day will create that much needed Flow in our lives. Doing things for others can help boost your own motivation.
- Care for others, especially when you have or know someone who is old.
- Help with a delivery or groceries.
- Extend emotional support for a friend who needs love.
- Give a listening ear.
- Video chat regularly with your parents and family members.
- Create family activities with your kids.
- Call a friend and let them know you are thinking of them.
- Send a handwritten note or send a card like we did in the past.
- Read for the visually impaired.
- Spread good news and kindness.
Keeping the communication going by socializing in these small ways creates THE HUMAN TOUCH WHERE WE FLOW with everything instead of resisting and creating barriers and this can take you a long way especially when it comes to our mental health, emotional health and overall quality of life.
Article by Meera Nair, Motivational Speaker, Flow & Nirvana Education Expert
Meera Nair is an International Fitness Educator, Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and a published Author. She conducts Talks, Workshops, Mind and Body fitness sessions for employees from corporate companies, schools and various other institutions, helping participants to go beyond fitness for better performance, improved productivity, creativity, health and lifestyle. (www.meera-nair.com)