The Healing Power Of A Story
If work has you feeling a bit down and disconnected from others, there might be a simple, entertaining antidote for you: a story.
Author Maya Angelou once pointed out:
“We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”
So, how do we strip away the differences? We find connection by listening to and sharing (for those brave enough) our stories.
Storytelling played a pivotal role in our collective human history. Arguably every culture once used stories to pass on traditional, spiritual and practical knowledge. This form of shared communication helped ensure their survival. But it’s not just a thing of the past. Many people today find laughter, empathy, healing and connection through story telling.
The benefits of human connection have been increasingly discussed in mental and physical health circles. Loneliness has been flagged as a major contributor to things like depression, heart disease and lowered immune function. Despite their detrimental effects, loneliness and depression aren’t always easily identifiable. Many people suffer in silence with few tell-tale signs.
This is why national RUOK? day is so important. It reminds us to take notice of others and not to shy away from connection. You just never know what kind of story someone is living and how much a simple question could help.
To inspire you and remind you of the value of individual stories we recommend these free podcasts. They won't substitute for face time, but they might just make you feel more connected in the meantime.
For nearly 20 years, The Moth has celebrated “the diversity and commonality of human experience.” All the stories on the podcast are factual and told before an audience without notes. You’ll laugh, cry, and feel everything in between.
Keep an eye out for their live events as The Moth appears in dozens of countries worldwide, giving you an opportunity to attend and participate.
“Spend an hour in someone’s life” is the tagline for this weekday radio show. Each interview is offered as a free podcast and explores the incredible story of one person. They may be as well-known as Hilary Clinton or as little-known as the girl-next-door.
This organisation began when a young man realised that sharing someone’s story can make them feel seen and valued. StoryCorps facilitates interviews between two family members or friends and preserves the resulting story in the US Library of Congress.
You can listen to any of the thousands of recordings on their podcast. If there’s someone in your own life who’s story you’d like to discover and honour, they offer an app to guide you through the process and recording.
Sharing stories offers a powerful and entertaining way to build some bridges. No matter how you choose to connect—face-to-face, over the phone, or by listening to these podcasts—it certainly is a healthy daily habit to practice.