Avoid the spiral of loneliness

It's not you. It's how you're wired.

I write weekly about the strategies, habits, and tactics around cultivating the connections that matter to you.

The more you understand about the human body and mind, the more one marvels at the genius feat of engineering.

There are exceptions.

As I’ve spent the past few years digging into how I could possibly help bring humanity back together, I kept coming across this pattern that explains much about the valley our society is in. This might affect you directly.

It’s the spiral of loneliness.

If you get off your fifteenth Zoom of the day and finally notice your stomach is screaming at you, you know what to do. Raid the pantry. Overpay for a courier to bring you a smoothie from up the street. Fish out and eat that pulverized energy bar at the bottom of your bag.

If your body notices an infection, you don’t even need to be involved - it musters up every bit of strength it can to fight it.

If we’re craving social connection, you’d assume that our internal software would encourage us to give a friend a call.

There are exceptions.

When one is feeling a lack of social connection, cortisol levels rise. Your pupils dilate. You become more stressed out. More irritable. Hyper aware. Easily startled. Angrier.

Not exactly the best conditions for a lazy Sunday brunch.

The underlying mechanism traces back to our paleolithic ancestors, Given our reliance on our tribe for safety, being alone put us at significantly increased risk of being brunch for a sabre-tooth tiger. Since everything is now a threat, our body goes into a hypervigilant state.

Why does this matter?

If you have any feelings of loneliness, remember that your nervous system unfortunately will not come to your rescue - in fact, it works against you.

It’s up to the rest of your body to realize this, and make that call. And remember, one reason they didn’t call you first is they have the same wiring as you.


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