I’ve been working from home and self employed (not teleworking) for almost a year. I went from interacting with dozens of people a day to spending 95% of my day alone. It was a fascinating change, and taking the YT challenge has brought about a huge reversal in my status: I now belong in a group of like minded individuals, and that’s been good for me.
It turns out there’s scientific evidence that feeling like you belong is good for everyone, and that taking this challenge was a form of “belonging intervention” for me. An article by Amada Enayati on the CNN website summarizing the 2007 work of psychologists Gregory Walton and Geoffery Cohen showed that a feeling of belonging is important for satisfaction and intellectual achievement, and that writing about your experiences, when framed as information to be shared with others, can improve your sense of belonging and satisfaction. To quote from Enayati’s article:
The researchers provide subjects with statistics, quotations and stories from upperclassmen about their experiences — how they struggled at first but eventually got through it — and ask participants to use that information to write about getting through their own difficulties and how it gets better.
The participants, who believe they are writing for the next generation of incoming freshmen — an audience many of them relate to and care about — begin to engage with the material and use it to reflect on their own experiences, ultimately coming to the conclusion that no matter how bad they feel, they are not alone.
So when we share our thoughts in blog posts, we may help our readers feel they are not alone, but we’re doing the same thing for ourselves!