This week the Archbishop of Canterbury called for a healing of divisions between people. He suggested contacting someone we have drifted apart from by sending a text or making a phone call.
Connection with people is vital for our mental health. I often talk to clients about the five steps to wellbeing, when one or other of them is feeling in low spirits, not sleeping, not functioning well. One of these steps to wellbeing – in fact the one that's usually mentioned first – is connection. As babies we thrive on a secure connection with our caregiver (usually mother) and this attachment need stays with us through our lives.
When couples are going through difficulties in their relationship, one of them often retreats behind a wall (they often use the image) to protect themselves from the difficult emotions being stirred up by the conflict. They then find the isolation distressing. In the counselling room the couple are seeking to reconnect in an intimate way. This involves dismantling the protective wall and, together, creating something better.
On a broader scale, and to help improve our mental health, it's good to try to rebuild connections with people who give something back to us. Isolation is seriously unhealthy. Connection with others, on the other hand, is healthy. At a profound level, it's what we need.