Dementia Caregivers and Isolation

caregiver stress family caregiver self-care Oct 05, 2022


Robin and I love anything to do with relationships…

Or, what we like to call “the space between two people.”

That space is the foundation and focus of our work with clients.

And, it’s the reason we named our business “You & Me.”

So, let’s talk for a minute about the people in your life and the space between you.

There are those you hold near and dear to your heart…

Like your close family and long-time friends.

You also have your more casual relationships or acquaintances.

The people you interact with, but barely know...

Like the lady you pass every day on your morning walk…

The waiter in your favorite restaurant…

Or, the barista at your local coffee shop.

It was in our local Starbuck's that I had a memorable interaction with a barista.

Not sure which Frappuccino to order, I asked for his help.

“If you had to decide between the Mocha Cookie Crumble or Java Chip, which would you choose?”

His face lit up.

He was happy to share his expertise.

And, he was excited to offer his opinion.

I thanked him for the suggestion, and we chatted about his work.

His co-workers even got in on the action.

The entire exchange was no more than 4 minutes, but it gave us all a boost.

Later that day, as I was reflecting on my experience...

It occurred to me how important these seemingly insignificant interactions are to our overall happiness.

And, as I soon discovered, there's plenty of research to back it up.

Psychologist, Karen Fingerman, calls these acquaintances “consequential strangers.”

Basically, it's anyone outside of your family and close friends.

After her groundbreaking research on the subject, she collaborated with journalist Melinda Blau to write the book Consequential Strangers: Turning Everyday Encounters Into Life-Changing Moments.

In it, she states that “people with larger networks of consequential strangers tend to be happier.”

It’s what we missed during the height of Covid.

Chatting with the regulars at the gym…

Catching up with a neighbor…

Asking the grocery store cashier if they’ve had a good day.

Every time you do this, you’re giving yourself and the person you’re interacting with a boost of feel-good hormones.

Or, as Dr. Fingerman says...

“A shot of connection.”

So, what is the moral of the story?

If you want to feel happier, more alive, and connected to the outside world…

Make it a point to interact with “consequential strangers” every day.

They're all around you.

And it's almost a guarantee it will make a positive difference in your life.

Oh…and if you find yourself in a Starbuck's, go with the Java Chip:)


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