Shortly after I graduated with my Masters from NYU, I moved back to New Jersey to be with my new husband, and his boys. Even though the town I was moving to was only 10 miles outside Manhattan, I was afraid that I was going to feel disconnected and out of the loop with with my circle of friends. From the moment I moved to NYC my circle of supportive women were my ever present team for support and sanity!
I know I am not unique in my need for close female relationships. Women are natural bridgers and connectors. A landmark study conducted by Laura Klein and Shelley Taylor revealed that women react to stress differently than men. Stressed men tend to respond by removing themselves from the situation, fighting back or suppressing their emotions. This study revealed that when women are stressed they seek out the comfort of other women or ‘tend and befriend’ as they named it. This illuminated the importance of female bonding and connectedness. Another study emphasizing the importance of friendships was conducted by David Spiegel who studied the survival rate of women with breast cancer. He found that those women who had a strong, supportive circle of friends outlived by many years their counterparts who lived in social isolation.
A sense of belonging is a basic human need, just like food and water. Solitary confinement would not be considered a form of punishment if isolation wasn’t so powerful. If you are without community and feeling alone please know what you are experiencing is not uncommon, though it is important that you take steps to find your tribe.
Lack of community can create isolation, anxiety and depression. Research has shown that people who participate in a community of like minded others are happier and healthier than those that don’t. Communities can provide support, motivation, connection and a place to be witnessed.
The world wide web has made it easier than ever to connect with others, all over the world. Finding people with similar interests can be as simple as typing in a few words. Even if you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, online summits, support groups, message boards and of course FaceBook are literally a click away.
Keeping yourself connected to others is a powerful and important way to take care of you. And it’s simple. So make connection a priority and as always, take care of you.
Love Love Love
P.S. If you are an entrepreneur, therapist, wellness professional or are thinking about starting your own company then I want to invite you to join one of the best communities for business online.
Marie Forleo has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. Through B-School (B as in business) is an 8 week online video-based training program that shows you how to build a unique and profitable brand. CLICK HERE to check out her FREE video training series and your chance to win a scholarship to this incredible program.
*image courtesy of Amanda Venner