Last Saturday I had the privilege of sharing a platform with Dr. Henry Emmons at the Ridgeview Women’s Event in Waconia, Minnesota. Dr. Emmons is a man committed to improving lives through his practice of general and holistic psychiatry. He spoke about the increase of depression and chronic stress in our culture and offered helpful advice about how to eat, exercise, and live mindfully so as to reclaim our footing in this fast paced world. Dr. Emmons has written three wonderful books (I am enjoying them all) detailing ways to take control of depression and anxiety.
Most refreshing was Dr. Emmons’ position that socialization is a key factor to cultivating a youthful brain, a vital mind and a wise heart. In a culture that focuses on individualism, he cited studies showing that our positive relationships with each other help reduce our stress and increase our resilience. We need each other to get through life’s challenges.
In her book L.O.V.E. 2.0, Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a psychology researcher, describes micro-moments of loving connection as “small moments that unite us as humans”. Even exchanging a smile and greeting with a stranger in an elevator creates positive physical and mental benefits. Dr. Fredrickson claims that we need micro-moments of human connection to survive as much as we need food, water, and air. We need each other to have stronger bodies and minds.
On Friday evening I had the pleasure of joining the board members who dedicate their time, passion, and commitment to putting together the Ridgeview Women’s Event. After years of working together, they have become friends. It was delightful to listen to them share news, encourage and laugh with each other.
In the past twenty years of speaking, I’ve presented to many hundreds of women’s events all over the United States, often with attendance of 500 or more. But the Ridgeview Women’s Event ranks in the top three for overall quality. The venue, fantastic food and educational programs connected fun and learning from beginning to end.
Although each board member is extremely accomplished individually, an event of this caliber required their pooled energy and creativity to create a splendid day for women. We need each other to grow and learn.
On Saturday, two hundred women filled the place with friendship and power. While one group of women stood around an artist’s table sorting through her beautiful hand painted tablecloths, another group gathered around a table of blended teas sharing stories with the talented owner. Women chuckled together taking “just one more croissant” from the delicious breakfast buffet. An older woman limped slowly to the restroom leaning onto a younger woman for support. Friends tucked in corners sharing recent news. A table filled with women threw their heads back in unabashed laughter.
It was a friend making, belly shaking, picture taking, bread-breaking day filled with micro-moments of loving connection. Despite claims of independence, this gathering proved once again; we need each other.
We need each other for touch, emotional support, and caring. We need a connection with one another in order to learn and to grow emotionally and spiritually. Humans need companionship for physical help, but we also need each other to laugh and enjoy life. We were created to be inter-connected.
Today I challenge you to focus on making five intentional, loving connections with a human being you encounter. Then tonight, when you lie your head on the pillow, mentally re-enact and savor those micro-moments of loving connection.
Your life will be better for it because, in order to fly, we need each other.