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Psychologist wants to help Haligonians feel seen in a disconnected world

Dr. Jody Carrington will be speaking at the Bella Rose Arts Theatre in Clayton Park on Wednesday
Dr. Jody Carrington

An Alberta psychologist wants to help Haligonians feel seen in a disconnected world.

Dr. Jody Carrington -- who did her residency here in Nova Scotia -- will be speaking at the Bella Rose Arts Theatre inside Halifax West High School this week.

In her latest book, Feeling Seen: Reconnecting in a Disconnected World, the bestselling author says humans are wired for connection. We need to be acknowledged. We need to know we matter.

But she tells CityNews Halifax, that companionship doesn't always come easy.

"The people who make us feel the safest tend to be the people who we feel the healthiest with," Carrington explained. "The healthiest among us have the more regulated connected relationships."

"But in a twist of irony, the hardest thing we will ever do is look into the eyes of the people we love, because the thing we need the most is also the thing that can hurt us the most."

She believes this disconnection has been building in our society for decades, and now we're reaching the point of a mental health crisis.

"The innovation of social media and the lack of proximity to each other," she stated.

"Think about the square footage of the house that your grandfather was raised in and the square footage of the house in which we raise our babies," she added. "Retrospective data would suggest that our great-grandparents looked at their children 72 per cent more of the time than we look at our babies."

And Carrington said the physical distancing that came with COVID-19 greatly accelerated the social disconnect in our society.

"It made sense in the moment, but now we want to get back to normal," she said. "But here's the interesting thing, there's a big difference between the removal of the stressor and the stress response."

"We appear to believe the pandemic is over, but the cost of what it took, everybody faced this disconnect. Missing weddings and funerals and all the things that would fill our hearts up, and now we have financial insecurities, we'll pay a price for that probably for the remainder of our days."

And the further apart we feel from others, the harder it is for us to risk being vulnerable.

However, Carrington said the path to reconnection can be paved by taking small steps.

"Do the best you can on any given day ... we have so much power in this moment," she stated. 

"A compliment, a kind word, buying coffee for someone behind you in the line at Tim Hortons, it's not only life changing in these days, it can be life saving."

Carrington's book tour stops in Clayton Park on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

You can find out more information here.

Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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