Are you avoiding people or groups because it feels like you get totally drained from interactions with them?
It feels like,
"I'm so exhausted after interactions with people. I'd rather just stay home where I'm comfortable and I can just be myself."
Yes. We all need time on our own to recuperate and rest.
However, there may be a small part of you that wonders if you are alone too much. If you doing yourself a disservice by avoiding others. You wonder if you are missing out on potential benefits that people bring to you.
Again, yes. Humans get a lot out of connection with each other.
Here are 4 benefits of human connection:
(1) Emotionally Stability.
During times of high stress animals turn to their group and just being together helps them mutually regulate their nervous systems back to health (Brantjberg, 2010). Humans are no different. Feeling the presence of another human being during stress helps us emotionally- We still may feel scared or helpless but we land more quickly from those strong emotions and get regulated again. We may have good tools for managing strong emotions but combining those with the skill of going towards a present person can be a very effective combination for emotional stability.
The experience of group belonging has been identified as a basic need (Maslow, 1943). Belonging to a group goes a long way towards helping us feel accepted and worthy. Several research studies have shown that an increase in one's subjective perception of identifying with a group reliably predicts an increase in one's life satisfaction (e.g., Wakefield et al., 2017).
(3) Less Chaos and Crisis.
Clients tell me that regular check ins help decrease the chaos in their lives. Bouncing ideas off of a safe and supportive person- like a therapist- can help us process life events, understand patterns, and start to act in ways that work better. This keeps the crises down- the ones that are avoidable- because we notice earlier on when to make a change/say no/ask for help, before things become unmanageable.
(4) Growth and Thrill.
Trying something new that feels scary and having it work out can bring growth and thrilling feelings. As scary as people can feel, when we take the risk and be real with them, the payoff for us can be huge.
Ok, so maybe I do want to start giving people another chance.
How do I do it in a way that doesn't drain me?
You can be with people and not be drained. It's draining to not be yourself. To hide parts of yourself. Come in and learn some skills to:
- be in contact with others without sacrificing a part of you.
- be your fuller, stronger self with safe others.
- protect yourself from draining people without avoiding all the time
- to be a healthier you so you can feel like yourself with others and on your own
I understand that you've learned to do things alone. Part of you believes you are better off without others. That make sense. You needed to do it on your own. But now you are interested in growing. In finding connection with more people.
You don't have to do this work unsupported. Come in and get support, information, and skills to make this next stage in your life as effective and pleasant as possible.
Brantbjerg, M.H. (2010). ROST Exercise Manual. Copenhagen: Moaiku Bodynamic. Moaiku.com
Maslow, A.H. (1943). "A theory of human motivation". Psychological Review. 50 (4): 370–96.
Wakefield, J.R.H., Sani, F., Madhok, V. et al. (2017). Journal of Happiness Studies. 18 (3): 785-807.