Why We Heal in Connection

Two humans heal in connetion

Connection is an essential part of the human experience. Unfortunately, trauma and chronic stress can alter our nervous systems so that we are wired for protection instead of connection. If we want to truly heal, we need to be able to connect meaningful with ourselves, others and the greater world. This is why we find healing in connection.


What is Protection Mode and how can it be a hindrance to healing?


When we are in protection mode, caused from unresolved chronic stress or trauma, the production of oxytocin is inhibited. Oxytocin is often referred to as the ‘love hormone’ and promotes bonding. Without sufficient levels of oxytocin, we may feel disconnected and untrusting of others. Unfortunately, this inability to feel connected to other human beings may lead to the limiting belief that love and connection are not safe, causing us to withdraw or avoid people.


When connection is missing in our lives, we create further distress in our nervous systems. This may cause us to become stuck in anxiety, agitation or shutdown for prolonged periods of time.  This is not the way we want to experience life. It is biologically essential that we connect to and co-regulate with others through nurturing relationships. Our psychological and physical health depend on it.


Healing in Connection Quote


Independency vs Co-regulation


Unfortunately, our society often promotes messages of autonomy and independence. This may cause us to feel shame about our healthy need to connect with others when we are facing adversities. Loneliness and disconnection during tough times can cause further pain and even more nervous system dysregulation. This message of independence at this time is most unhelpful. When we are unable to resource ourselves because of anxiety or distress, it is essential that we be able to co-regulate with another human who is regulated. Through this co-regulation our nervous systems can regulate again, leaving us feeling more able to tackle our challenges.


When we promote independence during times of adversity we are only creating further challenges. Social disconnection activates the same pain pathways as experiencing physical injury. Experience this social disconnection for prolonged periods of time and you may experience health problems such as heart disease, compromised immune functioning, depression and anxiety. 


How we heal in connection


Through connection you activate the Vagus Nerve and the hormone oxytocin is released. This can regulate your nervous system and reduce inflammation. A nurturing relationship is perhaps one of the most powerful forms of nervous system regulation. Co-regulation is a powerful antidote to distress. It can help you to shift your nervous system back to a state of safety and calm.


How do we move from survival mode to connection? Here are some ways to find safe connection:

  • Spending time with a pet
  • Working with a therapist or health professional
  • Attending a yoga, art or dance class
  • Texting or phoning a close friend
  • Visiting a trusted family member
  • Accepting a hug from someone you trust


Taking small steps towards connection can have a big impact on your nervous system. Relationships where we feel secure and that high levels of reciprocity can be wonderful medicine for our nervous systems and help us move from protection to connection.


Want to learn more about the science of the nervous system and how to naturally regulate your own nervous system? Join our interactive Trauma, Tension and Anxiety Release Program. This is a live, interactive six week program that will equip you with neuroscience techniques to leave you feeling calm and connected with yourself and the world. You will learn what research has been discovered about the different states of our nervous system as well as practically experience somatic healing modalities.


Our next program starts Wednesday, 21 July 2021. Spots are limited. To apply to join this programme please email info@intentionhealing.co.za or visit the Programme page for more details. I hope to see you there!