Humans are wired for connection, whether it’s in personal relationships with a spouse, children, friends and family, or through business (why do you think reps come out to your farm to see you in person?).
Dr. Jody Carrington, psychologist, best-selling author, and public speaker, says meaningful face-t0-face interactions with loved ones is the key to fulfillment and can in some cases, combat the stressors that are inevitable in many people’s day-to-day life.
Whether it’s due to the pandemic or just because of the hustle and bustle of life where everyone is seemingly run off their feet, time spent in person with the people we care about has taken a back burner, and Carrington says just to simply acknowledge the current state of separation can go a long way in bridging the gap.
“What we’re talking about is really just the power of acknowledgement and particularly in our rural communities, we understood for a very long time, that it’s about looking, at seeing, honouring things on a handshake, coming over for coffee, jumping in the truck to say, let’s go look at these cows together. Those are the things that matter the most,” says Carrington.
Interestingly enough, she shares that our grandparents looked at their children 72 per cent more of the time than the current generation looks at their babies. This isn’t to say the current generation is neglectful, it points to the fact of how busy we are and also, simply the size of our homes and living arrangements. In these conditions and in the current landscape of life, knowing the cards are stacked against us for easy face-to-face connection, it is up to each individual to purposely create the time and space to facilitate these interactions.
However, when we talk about meaningful connections, that doesn’t always mean happy and joyful conversations. Sometimes, having the hard or less glamorous conversations falls into the same category and as outlined above, there are several methods of escapism, or exit ramps as Carrington calls them, to avoid those tough conversations, and/or the deeper conversations which would undoubtedly leave some feeling vulnerable, a feeling that many may look to avoid because of how foreign it may feel.
“If I have the opportunity to just say, I’m just gonna watch my Netflix show I’d rather watch Yellowstone than I would about talking about the credit card bill or where we’re gonna go today, or whatever the deal is. And I think sometimes we feel like because our lives are so busy, we feel like we have, we deserve a bit of that break. Right? And that’s not untrue,” says Carrignton. “So even if you just reinsert that [acknowledgement of connection] into our lives a little bit more consciously. Take our kids for a drive and get a slurpee, or really slow down long enough to say on a Sunday morning, let’s have a game of cards or have the friends over on the Saturday night, that is the thing, when you start to do that a little more on purpose, that’s going to make a big difference.”
Another large part, or byproduct, of in person connections is the practice of and ability to regulate your emotions, which can serve the vast majority of people in a positive way and something Carrington discusses in greater detail with RealAgriculture’s, Kara Oosterhuis, at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference.