In our super-connected world, we’re tightly woven together with so many people who matter to our lives. Okay, let’s be honest. You’ve got thousands of friends, followers, and whatever the latest craze is … but if you needed to call someone at 3:00 a.m. and talk, how many would be there for you? And how long it did take you to identify them?

What makes that even more stunning is that all technical connectivity has also brought extraordinary knowledge about how our brains work, the role our brains play in our experiences, and how those experiences change our brains. For example, what are researchers learning about all those connections we have on social media and such?

They really don’t do much for our well-being. When the mother of that second cousin of that guy from Montana you talked to while waiting in line for Space Mountain posts her weird memes, your brain generates a quick jolt of what are called the feel-good hormones. After while, you start generating fewer jolts.

You see, what our brains really want is deep, genuine connections with other people. In fields such as addiction, researchers are discovering that building connections appears to be the most effective way to prevent relapse. They’re finding that when things like trauma interfere with our health and happiness, our brains crave anything providing a feeling of relief. Might be alcohol. Might be sugar. Might even be spending. But when we develop strong connections with other people, the brain becomes happier and stronger. So do we.

Despite our social media connections, many of us feel especially lonely. We want authentic connections with others. When we sustain and grow those connections, our brains stay happy, and so do we. For people who are trying to heal from trauma or other difficult situations, those connections are a very important part of the healing process.

If you believe you would benefit from being better able to build connections with others, a professional counselor can offer practical steps you can take. Why not sit down with one of us?

Haley Hast guides people who are experiencing grief and loss, anxiety, and depression, especially women who have experienced the heartbreak of miscarriage.


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