How many close friends do you have that you can call on in a crisis? Today, the most common answer Americans give is “none”.
From the evolutionary point of view, the main advantage we have as a species is not force, not even intelligence, but collaboration. There’s a basic instinct to be part of a tribe. We evolved as a species because we understood that being part of a tribe is better than to live alone as an individual.
But today we imagine that we can live alone. We don’t see human connection as being important to our well-being. And this is one of the reasons why depression and anxiety have become an epidemic in the Western world. Because there is a loneliness epidemic.
While drugs may help alleviate the symptoms, they leave the cause of the illness intact. And at least one of the main causes for people being depressed and anxious is that they are lonely.
Johann Hari, author of Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions, has investigated how social sciences studies have evidence to suggest that the most effective antidepressant is human connection.
Being part of a group helps reconnect the individual and his tribe. And this connection, one that is freely chosen, is very effective in treating depression and anxiety. If we cut ourselves out from the tribe or we are excluded from it, the prolonged loneliness can ruin our body and our mind.
(Re)connect to your loved ones, to strangers, to the your neighbors! Find your tribe and make it a priority to stay in touch with it. Please, share this!