Has being quarantined reminded you of how important your relationships are to your quality of life? All your relationships - not just the one's with the friends and family members you know and love but also with more casual relationships that help you maintain a positive outlook during dark and distressing times.
Don't you miss talking to strangers while walking your dog, shopping for groceries, on your daily exercise route? Don't you miss chatting up the barista at your favorite coffee shop/cafe, your hair dresser or the lady who does your mani/pedi? Whether you realize it or not, these "fleeting" connections add variety and quality to your life, They are a source of useful information and often provide needed emotional and physical support. Equally important, these short connections nearly always leave you with a smile on my face, while social distancing behind a mask, of course.
According to a book titled, "Consequencial Strangers: The Power Of People Who Don't Seem To Matter...But Really Do." by Melinda Blau, a science writer and Dr. Karen L. Fingerman, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas, Austin, who studies the nature and effect of so-called "weak ties" that people have with others in their lives. When interviewed, Dr. Fingerman noted that casual connections we encounter in the course of our daily lives "are a basic human need." These connections give us a feeling that we belong to a community. Dr. Fingerman and Ms. Blau wrote in their book, "Consequential strangers are as vital to our well-being, growth, and day-to-day existence as family and close friends." The writers note, "That these strangers enhance and enrich our lives and offer us opportunities for novel experiences and information that is beyond the purview of our inner circles." Dr. Fingerman emphasized, "They are vital social connections — people who help you get through the day and make life more interesting.”
Especially, during this time of enforced semi-isolation, these casual encounters offer us an anchor in the world and give us a sense of being connected to something larger then ourselves. Their research shows that people who are more socially connected are also more active physically. “Being sedentary kills you,” said Dr. Fingerman. “You have to get up and move to be with the people you run into when your out exercising.” "Consequential strangers also help your brain," she said, "because conversations are more stimulating with strangers." Another researcher, Katherine L. Fiori, chairwoman of undergraduate psychology at Adelphi University who studies social networks of older adults, has found that activities that foster "casual connections” foster greater life satisfaction and better emotional and physical health. When interviewed, Dr. Fiori said, “The greater the number of casual connections, the stronger the association with positive feelings and fewer depressed feelings,” “It’s clearly not the case that close ties are all that older adults need.”
So in the spirit of good health and well-being, while social distancing, tucked safely behind your face mask. Carefully, chat up a stranger. :)
We consider ourselves blessed to do what we love the most - teaching fitness & promoting an active lifestyle. As a team, in work and in life, my husband and I consult and collaborate on everything. As iron sharpens iron, we learn and challenge each other to bring out our best and we hope to do the same for every one of our clients.