Sophrosyne

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Evidence of positive resonance even as Singapore mourns its loss

I just wanted to share an amazing phenomenon as I observe my fellow countrymen stand together as they mourn the loss of our former prime minister of Singapore Mr Lee Kwan Yew. Perhaps he is better known as the man who led a team to bring Singapore from a third world country to the first world country it is today within one generation.

What I have observed was only via social media as I currently reside in Australia. But I am truly moved and wanted to share with my course mates that very often, people stand together in moments of great loss and offer unparalleled compassion for each other. It is these moments of unexpected positive resonance that builds an incredible upward spiral.

So what am I talking about? Mr Lee is currently lying in state in the parliament house and people are allowed in to pay their respects 24 hours a day. Despite this, the queue to enter remains as long as 8 to 10 hours. I have watched video footage of it. People are not allowed to linger, they just get to walk by and yet the wait is so long. Needless to say, the queue snaked down streets and in front of shops and cafes. Here is where it all began, business owners started offering free supply of cold drinking water, bringing out chairs for the elderly. As more and more people started to observe these selfless acts, more joined in. It started with free drinks if you happen to be in front of the shops. Now there are random people who would bring food and drinks to those standing in line in front of the field just outside the parliament house. How amazing is that? The nation has suffered a great loss and this sense of loss has evoked an upward spiral of positive momentum. People are looking to help one another; perfect strangers that they would normally not even cast a second look on any other day. But during this week, they have reached out to each other, offering positive connection through their action and compassion for one another.

We have often assumed that positive connections only occur when one is in the ‘correct’ frame of mind. That is true in most cases because why would anyone want to be nice or even talk to another person if they are stressed and in a bad mood? But this is a very unique case where people are sharing a common loss and in their grief, they sought to offer each other comfort in the ways that they know how to. In this giving and taking, they are in fact offering each other support. And it is also these actions of giving and taking that has created the momentum and opportunity for upward spiral. For the giver, the reward was that they could offer comfort in their own way. For the receiver, the concern offered was the reward. Hopefully, the need to reciprocate would then keep the momentum going for a long time as the movement goes from one person to another. It was Mr Lee’s dream for Singapore for as long as I can remember; to build One Nation, One Singapore. What a great way to honour this amazing man and to continue his legacy.

Just wanted to share my perspective and observation on positive connections and how life offers us opportunities to reach out to others in unusual circumstances. It is then upon us to be aware of  the opportunities presented and grab them as they come.

 

lky

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Is technology really bringing people together?

In one of the chapters in my book, The Parenting Trap, I mentioned that it is unhealthy for children to be on their electronic devices all the time. It is much better for them to be out socialising with other children or even to get a bit of fresh air and sunshine. I have been searching for more evidence to support my belief and I am glad to have found it!

In my recent study in Positive Psychology, I am glad to share with you that there are scientific evidence to support my claim. Research has shown that the less we use our social skills, the more we lose the ability to use them. Social connectivity is like our muscles, the less we use it, the more we lose it.

This is great news for people like me who loves company, good company of course. The more positive social connections we have with others, the more health benefits we reap. Extensive research in the field of Positive Psychology have strongly suggested that cultivating these positive connections is as powerful as starting a new health behaviour, such as quit smoking, healthy eating plans..etc. Isn’t this so exciting to know that we can all get healthier simply by staying connected with good friends and catching up for that coffee more frequently?

This also allows us to appreciate why solitary confinement has been used for as long as we know to punish prison inmates. It is one of the cruellest form of punishment to enforce onto anyone. If it can improve our health so much that it can be scientifically significant; then one only needs to imagine what will happen in the absence of human contact.

So, after all that, you ask me, what if my friends are busy or for that matter I am too busy to catch up on a regular basis, does that mean my health is going to suffer? Absolutely not! Lucky for us, Positive Social connections is not exclusive to interactions with people we already know. A simple hello and exchange of pleasantry with you local baker may be all you need to sustain you for longer than you know. So, it DOES NOT need to be someone you know. As long as the exchange is genuine and the experience is a positive one, it will work to elevate your wellbeing.

I can go on and on and run the risk of confusing you with too much technicalities and jargon. If you are interested to know more, please go to the link provided here.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/opinion/sunday/your-phone-vs-your-heart.html?_r=0

All you need to remember is that you can influence your health by increasing positive connections with others. So, look up from your mobile devices the next time you are out, and take some time to connect with your fellow humans.

 

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