The Healing Power of Conversation
Everybody has a story and it’s our stories that define who we are as people. Many of us may think our stories are not interesting or relevant enough to share with others, but this is a huge fallacy. Each person possesses within them a treasure trove of personal experience and stories rich in lessons I’m sure.
Think about it. When someone passes away how do we remember them? We go back in time and tell stories of what life was like with them. It’s our stories–whether or good or bad–which in the end, gives our lives context and meaning.
As a writer, I’m not only fascinated with the human condition and what makes people tick in general, but by each person’s story and the potential it has to be a powerful force in my life to teach me something new about myself and the world. The stories of others offer me fresh perspectives and the ability to bring clarity to my own life experiences.
In fact, my own natural curiosity often operates like a detective to uncover the stories that lie within individuals if they are willing to share them with me. This is where the power of conversation comes in. Masked within a conversation are our stories that shed light on our individual experiences, beliefs and values. You see the power of story and conversation is what binds human experience together; our struggles and victories in life become connected. And it’s through the commonality of our stories dispersed through conversations that we no longer have to feel alone.
However, our ability to connect and tell our stories has been compromised by the advance of technology and social media. While social media channels can help to spread our stories and strike up conversations on important issues, they have also jeopardized the sanctity and importance of face-to-face conversation in our society. The fact I had friends who used to call me before the onslaught of social networking sites and have since stopped, serves as evidence of this. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say: “I’m just not a phone person anymore.” Technology has sadly led to what I feel is the depersonalization of self. Conversation has become like many other forms of face-to-face communication–automated.
We now connect and converse more and more through artificial channels like Twitter, Facebook, instant messaging, texts, email and chat rooms. These channels make it easier for us to reach out to others on our own time as to not interrupt our precious schedules but not necessarily when people may need us. In fact, I believe that conversing strictly through these platforms is leading to greater social isolation of the individual.
For women especially, conversing and sharing is important for maintaining good health. When women share and connect through “girlfriend time” it actually helps to release more serotonin–a neurotransmitter that helps fight depression and produces feelings of happiness and well being. A support circle of strong women to confide in is particularly important for dealing with stress and difficult life experiences. Women especially are hard-wired to talk out their feelings and emotions and bear their souls to each other to bring clarification to what they are going though. Men on the contrary, tend to bond and form relationships through mutual activities such as sports. They may share certain aspects about their personal lives, but often not to the same depth and magnitude as women do.
The important lesson here is that taking time to nurture relationships and conversing with each other is just as important as exercising or eating healthy. Alack of social connection and face-to-face conversation may actually be detrimental to your health, leading to loneliness and even depression. Remember we are social creatures by habit. Sharing our stories and experiences with each other through the act of personal conversation is vital to our wellness and happiness and can help you as much as the person you are listening to.