In today’s blog, we’ll consider the following;
- Stimulation or distraction
- Attention span of a goldfish
- Connecting through sports
- Expect more
To be human is to crave connection. In an ever-increasing world of connectedness, one may wonder why so many people feel disconnected and alone. With potential linkage all around us, why is isolation prevalent? Over the last few decades, our global communication ability has exploded. Social networking allows us to connect with neighbors, former classmates, and just about anyone with a click of a button. The internet allows us to chat, join groups, and send emails. Our smartphones allow us to talk to others anywhere any time.
Layer in a global pandemic, and rampant disconnectedness has caused an escalation of depression. Anti-depressant usage has been steadily increasing since 2015. A 6% increase in the number of antidepressant prescriptions (20.5 million) between October and December 2020 (compared to the same three months of 2019) is the result of the exacerbation by Covid.
Our access to knowledge is effortless compared to only a few decades ago. We choose what we view, what we listen to and what we read. We have an overabundance of choices. We’re deluged with information, misinformation, opinions, judgments, facts and myths. We’ve become savvy at sifting through it all to find the good stuff. Yet, with all this connectedness, for many, it’s not enough. Or is there more to it? Could the critical difference be a level of over-connection? Addiction?
Stimulation or distraction
We are free to beam stimulation or distraction into our brains at any moment. Is our technology a social disruption? Being uncontactable has become exceptional and outlandish, and a source of escalating anxiety in itself.
We have grown accustomed to the fact that shared physical space no longer means shared experience. Everywhere we go, we carry with us options far more enticing than the place and moment we happen to be standing within. In this flurry of choices, lurks the tragic loss of true human connection. One thought I would posit on this subject is this: Our world is plagued by shallow surface thoughts and meaningless relationships. With almost greater rapidity than the data streaming to us, the human race is squandering something very precious – the ability and desire to connect with each other on a meaningful level. The ‘virtual’ or ‘blind’ connections of social media ring hollow for most of us.
In writing these weekly blogs, it has been my hope to bring valuable information to our readers. I cover topics like sports training tips, mental aspects of competing, microbiome health, neural cultivating, injury prevention, and creating a healthier lifestyle. Based on our culture’s need for instant gratification, bullet points, and emojis, I believe many have lost the ability to concentrate, wasted the skill of focusing, and never developed the art of being patient. Should I perhaps compact my blogs even further to accommodate those with the equivalent of ‘tech neck’ of the brain? I believe some of my messages can be life-changing or life-improving and are deserving of thoughtful absorption. Yet, I want to help as many as possible. A dilemma, indeed.
Attention span of a goldfish
In today’s stressed-out world, most folks want things now rather than later and they want all or nothing. According to a study by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds. Even a goldfish can hold its attention on something for 15 seconds. If you have a few seconds to spare now, think about that. The attention span of a human is less than that of a goldfish. Really?
Eight seconds is understandably not a ‘connectable’ time fence. And, it’s certainly not enough time for meaningful thought. Texts and tweets are making communication ever faster, and it’s causing many of us to speak more quickly in our everyday conversations. Fast-talking is also a result of our overwhelmed brains trying to cram more into the same amount of time. It’s approaching bullet-point speech.
Pay attention to your next conversation with someone. When they talk to you (note the use of “to” and not “with), ask yourself: Does it feel like they are in a hurry? Do they cut you off in the middle of a sentence, repeatedly? Hurried dialogue and interruptions are not conducive to real conversations. For me, it’s sad when I want to have a meaningful interaction with a friend, but all I can get is a review of a TV program, a political extremist view, or other binary soundbites. I find it curious to listen to a group chatting away, flitting from one topic to another, talking over each other with one-way speech – all the while evidencing listening deficit. Real conversations create real connections.
Maybe we could try some subtle shifts. For example, review the excerpt below from a previous blog, “Whispering Differently” for a hint on how to change the phrasing to make better connections:
I have begun using the phrase “I’m looking forward to learning more from you next week”. Or sometimes I’ll say, “Can you share more with me the next time we talk?” This phrasing has a more precise and different meaning. The shift from my action (“I’ll talk”) to learning from the other party. It’s subtle, yet effective. It’s part of the secret that those ‘light up a room’ folks know instinctively.
Or try this little experiment next time you visit with a friend. Intentionally speak more slowly with a softer voice. You might be surprised how it changes the feel of the conversation. It may not work instantly, but with patience, you will begin to feel a more relaxed exchange. We all have friends in whose presence we are at ease. Those are the friends who seem genuinely interested in listening to us. They’re present. Listening is an art that requires work, self-discipline, and skill. The art of communication springs as much from knowing when to listen as it does from knowing how to use words well. Listening is connecting.
Connecting through sports
Participating in sports allows us to know people in a greater depth. There is a natural bonding process when playing on a team or enjoying the same sport. The camaraderie and excitement of working together to improve is a perfect environment for building deeper friendships.
We are a nation of sports fanatics. Let’s ensure we don’t become a nation of mere spectator fanatics. The benefits of participating are numerous and evident. Participating in sports or fitness activities can involve simply going for walks with friends and having conversations about things that inspire each other or strategizing with a team to develop better overall fitness goals.
Participation in a sport is a great convening tool. From the professional level down, sports can create a sense of community with those connected to it. The power of sports can create a sense of kinship. Whether relationships newly formed or relationships that last a lifetime, sports can be said to be ‘one language shared by many’. In a personal sense, I’ve had the ability to see corners of the world and understand the diversity of people simply because of my sport. What a privilege!
We live in a beautiful world. We are surrounded by kind, generous, and thoughtful people. People who look you in the eye when you are speaking with them. People who listen to you carefully. People who accept you for who you are. These are the builders and growers of our world. They lift us up. Are you one of those people?
Human connection is an energy exchange between people who are paying attention to one another. It has the power to deepen the moment, inspire change and build trust. Our minds are not dumping grounds for incessant dribble. Our minds are fertile gardens where thoughts of inspiration and growth flourish. Seek out friends who recognize this truth. Cultivate with them and through them. Find those who will treat you as the miracle you are.
Connecting can also lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and improve our immune systems. By neglecting our need to connect, we put our health at risk.
Our inherent need for human connection doesn’t mean that every introvert must become a social butterfly. Having a human connection can look different for each person. You are not alone. You are not isolated. Reach out. Slow down. Open up. Listen, really listen, to those around you. Try encouraging growth conversations with meaning and value.
You will never get more out of life than you expect. Expect more.
Expect to be connected to remarkably interesting and exceptionally caring people. Expect that this core human need will be met. Expect that this is what you deserve. It may take work and focus, but true human connectedness awaits. True connection allows us to do things that we wouldn’t be able to do on our own. This is neural-cultivating at its best, and it’s worth the effort.
Get your questions ready. You are now officially invited to join our community for some customized learning and fun. Submit your questions to AMA@bodyhelix.com. Our team will consider, ponder, and noodle over your questions. We’ll do our best to provide helpful responses.
Thank you for reading our content. The bodyhelix team appreciates your support and feedback. To use my newly adopted phrasing, “I look forward to hearing from you with your questions or suggestions on ways we can learn together.” Consider this as an open door to our shared journey of discovery.
We will neural-cultivate together.
For more information please visit https://bodyhelix.com/blog/
It is my greatest hope that you will implement some tips from our Bio-Cultivating and Neural-Cultivating blogs. Further, it is my hope you will be inspired to pass these learnings along to family and friends. We all have people in our lives who have the desire but lack the accurate information to improve their health. It is frustrating to sift through the bombardment of data and the misinformation in today’s world. It’s no wonder some give up in frustration. I believe that we deserve the healthiest choices that honest modern science can offer. It is my mission to help as many of us as possible get and stay healthy.
As a tennis coach myself, I found the compression industry to be unacceptable for our needs. I set out on a journey to help you and your students. I know we all get beat up. The harder we compete, the more we get injured. All compression is not created equal! At Body Helix, we start with an unapologetic obsession for exceptional quality. Our design philosophy is to create modern, innovative gear that surpasses that which is offered in the global marketplace. As a privately held, Veteran-owned, North Carolina company we challenge global leaders to elevate their compression game or step aside. It’s compression gear, designed by tennis players, for tennis players.
Be well and stay focused on cultivating your health, your mind, and your solitude. If I can help you further never hesitate to reach out to me.
Move Through It.