Dear Brave One,
Over the next eight weeks, journey with me as I share the eight keys of the Alice Fulks Wellness path. Each week, we will uncover one new key. The first key that I am excited to share with you is…
CONNECTION to a loving presence, yourself, loved ones, and your tribe.
What does this have to do with my health? Shouldn’t we start talking about a treatment plan first?” I’ve been asked this question dozens of times, and it’s a valid one. It would seem that the wellness program should start off with a nitty gritty discussion of the physical stuff; but, trust me, we will get there. For now, let’s look at connection and come to discover why it is truly the root of all healing.
Research Regarding Interpersonal Connection
In a September 15, 2015 Q &A session with Amy Banks, M.D., she revealed just how important interpersonal connection is in medical science. Dr. Banks is the Director of Advanced Training at the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute (Wellesley Centers for Women); an instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School; co-editor of The Complete Guide to Mental Health for Women; and author of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Relationships and Brain Chemistry. Dr. Banks truly has the credentials and experience to relay why humans are so hard wired for interpersonal connection.
The Biological Roots of Empathy
Dr. Banks explains that people are naturally empathetic due to neuroscientific principles. When one area of the speaker’s brain lights up with certain emotions while relaying the speaker’s story, the audience or receiver of the message will experience the brain lighting up in the same areas. This is a mirroring principle that suggests that humans are hard wired for empathy and connection.
Also, Dr. Banks explains a study done by researchers at the UCLA called Social Pain Overlap Theory (SPOT). In this study, the scientists determine that the same area of the brain that is responsible for physical pain, the anterior cingulate, lights up when a person is excluded from a social group.
Social Pain Mirrors Physical Pain
So, this social pain is in the same realm in the brain as physical pain. People experience social pain in intimate group settings as well as in larger contexts through racism and sexism. When people are not able to connect in groups, they experience painful emotions. This type of pain should not be negated by society.
What Kind of Prescription Would Love Be?
Dr. Banks points to a book written by health advocate Dr. Dean Ornish called “Love and Survival”. The studies in the book indicate that being isolated and pushed out of groups can have ramifications for health. Dr. Dean Ornish mentions that if there was a drug that could be invented that does what love does, it would outsell all of the other drugs. Its efficacy would just blow the other drugs out of the water. This is exactly what love does.
With this being said, it stands to reason that the more we connect to love, the more we can heal and restore the radiance of our bodies and beings.
Connection to a loving presence in our lives; to our own wants and needs; to loved ones; and to a tribe, are the foundation through which we can begin to heal. This connection gives us strength, support, and courage. It comes to the rescue us in moments where we are tempted to go deep into a downward spiral.
Overcoming the Temptation to Isolate
A wise woman once said to me, “healing happens in community”. If you are in the midst of walking through chronic illness, it is so tempting to withdraw from life. I get it. I’ve been there. A lot of times it was my pride that kept me away from others. Or a fear that I would burden my loved ones. Quite the opposite is true. I came to find that my loved ones and my tribe wanted to support and love me through my struggles.
Please consider that now more than ever is the time to practice the deeply courageous act of reaching out and connecting. If you don’t feel you have a community where you feel supported, consider that right now we are building one together. We are in this together!
Please share your thoughts, feelings, and comments on the blog section about your experiences with connection. How do you find connection with a Loving presence, yourself, your loved ones, and your tribe?
Also, feel welcome to reach out if you are in need and longing for connection. Alice Fulks Wellness is a place where we come together in CommUNITY to grow and heal.
The call to adventure is here.
Come home to your RADIANT WELLNESS, Brave One!
Love & Magic,
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