12 Mar Connection


Article by Patti SayrePsychotherapist, L.C.S.W (Patti is a friend of Montclare’s and has joined us to present many parenting workshops over the years. Sign up for her newsletter!)

We all know the basics of keeping healthy: get enough rest, exercise, eat your veggies. There is tons of information telling us how to do this, but how many of us know how important social interaction is? Across many studies of mammals from the smallest of rodents to us humans, the data suggests that we are shaped by our social environment and that we suffer greatly when social bonds are threatened. We may not like the idea that our well-being depends on our connections with others, however, it is a fact.  Study after study reports that as social animals, we are wired to connect. We need to feel valued, supported, and loved. Those who have good relationships are happier, and live longer.

A telling study showed that lack of social connection is a greater threat to health than high blood pressure, obesity, and smoking. Social connection strengthens our immune system, helps us recover from disease faster and may even lengthen our lives. People who are more connected have lower rates of depression and anxiety, have higher self-esteem and are more empathetic. Social connectedness generates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional and physical well-being, which facilitates trust and an openness to others and promotes connectedness. Some interesting research shows that we value physical possessions less when we feel loved and accepted by others.


It is through relationships that we find the greatest sense of comfort and security. Despite all of this knowledge, social connection is waning at a rapid rate. We rack up friends on facebook or join virtual communities. We shop online, thereby limiting our interactions with others. In our advanced digital age, there is an increase in loneliness. We have become less caring for it is easy to be more dismissive with the click of a button. Devices interfere with resilience, inner life, imagination, patience, and empathy. As inner resources decline, depression, stress and anxiety are on the rise. Literature indicates that kids are so stressed out about grades, performance, and social media to the point of being sleep deprived and desensitized.

The very things that can help them to succeed and stay well, meaningful relationships and conversation, have been sacrificed. It doesn’t matter how technologically sophisticated we become, we need to recognize how important basic human connections are to our well being. Once we realize this we can consciously work towards making connections that will enhance our lives.

Tips for Making Connections

  • Pay attention:  Listen with intention. Focus on what the other person is saying.
  • Show you care:  Empathy and kindness will never go out of style.
  • Be Authentic:  Be imperfect. Your imperfections are what make you interesting.
  • Open up:  Let people see a part of you and what makes you tick!
  • Know thyself:  Know when your needs are best met by technology or when nothing will replace human contact.
  • Make a plan to participate in the real world:  Meet a friend, take a walk, or sign up for a class.
  • Follow Through: When you say “let’s do lunch”-Do it!  
  • Exude Warmth and Positive Energy:  Let people know that they can feel safe with you.




Join us for a free screening of “Screenagers, Growing up in the Digital Age” at
Thursday, April 19, 2018
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM