Critical Connections

I stumbled across a music video I absolutely had to share with you. It’s from a rocakbilly band from the Atlanta area called The Psycho DeVilles, and A very encouraging message awaits you saying “as long as I have friends to call – I am doin’ just fine.”

It’s easy to spot the love this band’s fans have for each other.

Times are hard and disappointment can overwhelm us. It’s important to reach out to your family and friends and check in from time to time. You never know what a simple hello can do for someone. In fact – it’s quite possible your kindness could be even more beneficial to you.

What would you say if I told you greater happiness and mental health were waiting for you if you do one simple thing?

Unless you have the winning lottery numbers, this may be just what you need. There really are methods within our control that offer these advantages. Sadly, I discovered this only a few years ago. Until then, I crammed every sort of activity into my days. I drove my kids to baseball, soccer, basketball, football, dance, and school functions while cultivating my career the best I could. I threw all my energy into my family, determined to meet every need.

Those roles defined me. That is, until the roles changed, leaving an odd emptiness behind. Once my kids became self-sufficient, I had to reevaluate my life. Stress and anxiety had brewed inside for so long it felt like an extra skin I couldn’t shed. Busyness had become my buffer.

The most vital step we can take to promote a healthy, happy life is making connections with friends. Are there people in your life you don’t get to see often but care about? When you take that first step of checking in with friends to offer your support and communicate your concern for them YOU benefit the most. Barring a relationship that is toxic, reaching out will ease your anxiety, provide a sense of belonging and purpose, boost your self-worth, and add a new fiber to your bond with another person. All those benefits and more wait for you when you pick up the phone to make a call, send a text, or set up a virtual or physical meeting.

The advice circulating across all media formats tells us to socially distance. I believe they have it wrong. We may need to physically distance, but socially we need to bond right now, more than ever.

According to Saltzman and colleagues (2020) social supports are a critical factor in adapting positively to the COVID-19 pandemic. Social isolation, loneliness, and depression rose in the wake of traumas such as the 9-11 attacks and epidemics like SARS during 2003. Fear and worries of mortality combine with the rise in isolation with our particular circumstances now. Those of us who have a history of trauma or unresolved grief could be more susceptible to a decline in mental and physical health during this period of isolation.

I challenge you to be proactive. Even if you feel lonely or anxious yourself, reach out. What we do for others is magnified in us. Check on your kind neighbor or the co-worker you haven’t been able to joke around with lately. Call up an old friend and take up where you left off. The memories you stir up will get you laughing and reminiscing. Consistent connections tighten the cords of our relationships, improving their quality and our health. Your listening ear will bring someone comfort and that experience will be reciprocated to you.

I don’t regret the time I spent absorbed in my family. I only wish I had prioritized reaching out to those around me. The relationships I have nurtured recently bring me a newfound joy and excitement for life. I bet I would have been a happier mom if I had learned this earlier. As I slip away to call my buddy from college, give someone a ring. You will make someone’s day, maybe your own.

P.S. if you enjoyed the music, please make sure to like and follow Hot Rod Walk & The Psycho DeVilles on Facebook, instagram, and on their website.

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