In both our and the first cohort of delegates in our 10-week Covid-19 busting programme, both sets of delegates are about to start working on Tribes, our Social Wellbeing Module. So I thought I’d focus this week on the importance of Social connection and how Covid-19 has impacted that.
For those of us that live with family or close friends, many of us have all had this unique opportunity to get much closer to them. I know at times this might have been a challenge as we all struggled to find our own personal space in the early days of the pandemic, but generally, I hear clients, friends and family all talking about how nice it’s been to be more closely connected with our immediate family, and how post-covid they want to try to retain this.
When it comes to wider family and friends it’s been a different story. There’s only so many Zoom quizzes we can do before we crave the need to meet up face to face. Of course, as restrictions now ease, we can now meet more people in a social distanced way, but we still can’t hug, we can’t touch, we can’t kiss. My Dad has advanced Parkinsons and Mum advanced Alzheimers, and only just moved in to a care home just before lock-down. Putting mine and my family’s feelings aside, and how hard it’s been, imagine what they must be going through? They can’t even get their head around what Covid-19 is. They just don’t understand why we are not seeing them, why they can’t have a hug.
We are all deeply social beings, this all stems from our hunter-gatherer ancestors, who formed tribes, for survival. The need to protect each other from predators, procreate and feed ourselves were the main reasons we gathered. This was hard wired into us then as a matter of survival of the species. Now all these millennia later, it’s still there. Our need to belong, our need to be needed. Our need to connect.
As we increasingly have turned to technology-based interactions to get our social fix, this has been both amazing and frustrating at the same time. We’ve been able to have ongoing relationships and conversations with so many people. But have they always been the right interactions for us? Have we seen too many posts from the conspiracy theorist in our network?
There’s a whole other debate about how we engage with people we disagree with the goes to the heart of what a tribe is, and this has driven deep divisions in society. I’m not going there in this post, other than saying that is not what we mean by tribes when we talk about it. We’re not trying to get your entrenched in a position. As
, we want you to release more oxytocin to build stronger relationships.
“We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with".
The science behind this is solid. Happy people make us happy. Your friend being happy can actually make me happier, even if I don’t interact with her, just because she’s been happy with you. It does seem that happiness is just as if not more contagious than Covid-19? Someone once said to me, “Ian there are radiators and drains in this world, steer clear of the drains and hug the radiators.
was credited with the quote
What’s emerged for our clients in all this is as follows:
1) A sense of purpose around helping protect their family, not only immediately, but also to educate them on the right health choices in the long-term.
2) A desire to stay as close to their immediate family post all this.
3) A desire to see their wider family and friends in a more rich way.
4) A desire to be more tolerant of others, but also recognise that they have lots of radiators to hug and there are drains to avoid.
What’s shown up for you around your tribes?