Connection as an Anti-Depressant

Mina and Me, on a walk in the Berkeley HillsI want to share something: I LOVE walking… pretty much any time, any where. In the U.S., people spend a lot of time alone. And I used to spend a fair amount of time walking alone, even though I generally prefer to be accompanied. One time, I took a trip to Mexico to spend time with my (now ex) husband’s family. There, and in many other countries and cultures, most people spend very little time alone. I found this a little odd, but rather pleasant, as I’ve always been gregarious and I appreciate company. If I walked to pick up fresh veggies at the corner market, one of the relatives would walk with me. If I had to do any other errand, someone would offer to accompany me. And I always said yes. I got used to this and enjoyed the walks quite a bit.

Upon my return to the U.S., I resumed my walks, and the first time I was walking alone, I observed something profound. My mind happened to take a little unhealthy detour — something related to worry and seeing things from a negative and somewhat twisted perspective. I caught it, and noticed it. I thought, “That’s funny; I haven’t had that kind of thought lately. I wonder why not, and I wonder what elicited that just now.” I followed the train of thought back, and knew that this kind of thought had not been a completely uncommon occurrence for me… particularly while walking, so I wondered why it seemed unfamiliar to me all of the sudden. And it came to me: I realized I had not been ALONE for a while. I had not been walking ALONE for quite a while.

As a Spanish Medical Interpreter, I had interpreted for several psych appointments for depressed and other mentally ill patients. And I began to reflect on the CULTURAL differences between depression and other mental illnesses and treatment for such HERE in the U.S., and in Mexico. And I learned at a deeper level one of the most important Principles of healthy, happy, longevity: Connection. When you are WITH people a LOT, you may feel a little imposed upon, (oh darn!) but there are built-in checks and balances when you start to think and say things that are not true and objective, like negative thoughts and perspectives that don’t take into account the positive aspects of a scenario or the ability to resolve difficult dilemmas by obtaining community/family support and not being left solely to one’s own devices (which are sometimes woefully inadequate). “Your problem” becomes/is “our problem”. “Let me make you a good meal and that will help you feel better.” See, a lot of times people get into a negative spiral here in the U.S. because they get a little out of sorts and then they don’t have the energy or focus to do good “self-care”, so they get worse because they have inadequate nutrition or they stay up too late, don’t shower or get dressed or get out, etc. Each of those things happens because they are not fully integrated in a community. The brain then functions worse and worse. If there are people around, they can and do help reverse a spiral, or elevate a person enough to keep them from plummeting.

If YOU see what I’m saying here, and have your own experiences which corroborate this concept of the importance of “Connection” to mental health (which plays out statistically), then please join me at It is my mission (Purpose) to help bring the wholesome lifestyle of the world’s Longevity Hot Spots to the United States. I could use your help. The BluePrint for Life includes: Nutrition, Movement, Relaxation, Connection & Purpose. Thank you!!!