Cultivate your connections

Your computer is connected to a lot of people, you know. (As well as a lot of people you know, minus the comma.)

In terms of the former, you could for instance reach out to President Barack Obama. His email address is

Alternatively British Prime Minister David Cameron is just a few clicks away at

Then again one of the world’s richest men, Bill Gates, can reportedly be reached at

Now I’m quite sure there’s only the flimsiest of chances that a message to any one of these three will get you a personal reply from the addressee themselves, but the point I’m making is that through the internet you’re theoretically connected to nearly three billion people – all the way from the President of the United States of America to the driver of the last bus you took.

You’re (again, theoretically) more connected to more people than anyone else at any other time in history.

However whilst this might be of passing interest to you on a good day – one on which you’re feeling relatively at one with the world – it’s likely to be at best pretty meaningless on a blue day and at worst a trigger to even further despair.

Three billion connections? Then why do I feel so abjectly miserable? Why do I feel so lonely?

The thing is, you’ll know as well as I do that when your mood is low, you tend to minimise contact with others. Whether physically or metaphorically, you pull the curtains and retreat into your shell. When you feel rough, it can take superhuman efforts to force yourself to interact.

But however difficult it may be, it’s unquestionably an effort worth making. Feeling connected to others is a sure-fire way of lifting your sense of wellbeing.

It’s definitely worth remembering though that, as Benjamin Franklin observed, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, for not only can connections lift your mood if it’s crashed, they can also help prevent it bottoming out in the first place.

Connections come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from a simple ‘good morning’ to someone you pass in the street, all the way up to a warm conversation with an old friend. Usefully though, I’m pretty sure that if you experience enough of them, even small interactions build up like raindrops filling a barrel, leaving you feeling lifted and – yes – loved.

So look for little and large opportunities to connect with other people in all sorts of ways, and you’ll be helping to beat the blahs.

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