Ever since I started making a lot of new friends through letter writing I noticed I’ve been a lot happier, for though I thoroughly enjoy my own company, I seem to experience an irresistible and intoxicating lift whenever I find myself with interesting, supportive people, people who could be described as kindred spirits. Spending time and sharing with these special people doubles my joy and divides any sorrow I may be experiencing.
You may also have discovered the lift obtained from the presence of kindred spirits in your life, even just one. Having the right people to talk to makes a big difference to most people’s happiness. But did you know there’s a scientific explanation for this fact?
In the book, “Happy for no reason”, Marcia Shimoff tells us,
“When you surround yourself with relationships that supports you, your energy expands. According to the latest research, women’s biochemical wiring makes them more likely than men to seek out relationships with others for though men and women both release adrenaline and cortisol when under stress, scientists found in a landmark UCLA study that in order to buffer those stress chemicals women’s brains release oxytocin, the bonding hormone. This is why women who are going through a rough time often want to gather with other women or have a good, long yak-fest with a close girlfriend. Researchers call this behavior “tending and befriending”. It is stimulated by oxytocin and in turn creates more oxytocin. The more women “tend and befriend”, the more oxytocin they release, producing a calming influence and further lowering their stress.”
Stress doesn’t have to be caused by a deluge of disasters and bad news either. Sometimes having a full, wonderful life, just a little too much wonderful, can make us feel frazzled and destroy that feeling of calm and control which most of us need in order to enjoy our days.
And even if we’re feeling absolutely fine with no stress in our life at all, there’s still something about having a yak-fest which makes most women feel better yet, even fantastic! So, tending and befriending seems to be a very intelligent activity (especially for women) to include in our regular list of “to do’s” if we want to be our happiest.
But you do need to find kindred spirits and this is not always so easy. Sometimes finding a kindred spirit is a little like looking for a needle in a haystack. To find a kindred spirit we must get busy meeting people in any number of ways. We can join clubs, get involved in community activities, do volunteer work, become active in a church, join a political party, OR…
We can join a letter writing organization like The Letter Exchange (www. letter-exchange.com.), sit home in our easy chair with our feet up, a favorite drink at our side, and in this most comfortable manner reach out to people all over the world in search of friendship. I’ve made quite a few very special friends through The Letter Exchange and I’m sure you would too.
As a letter writer one can have a yak fest any hour of the day or night because writing a letter doesn’t demand your friend be available to you at that precise moment. And it seems there’s a little magic involved in finding and connecting to kindred spirits through letters, for unlike the friends we select through in-person meetings, the friends we gain through letter writing associations seem to come to us in a more mysterious manner. We reach out, but it’s sometimes a surprise who reaches back to us, and I like to think that meeting these people is not an accident of fate, but rather fate directing them to us for a reason.
In the book, “Celestine Prophecy” written by James Redfield it is suggested that nothing is a coincidence. When we meet a person either we have something to offer them or they have something to offer us or it could go both ways. It’s up to us to share meaningful conversations, yak fests, with these people, in order to find the true purpose of why we were brought together.
I like this idea. It makes every person I meet important to me, and because people are important to me, I love to meet new ones every chance I get. Is it this way for you too?
I’m always open to in-person introductions, but I also love to meet letter writers from around the world via The Letter Exchange. I submit ads seeking new pen friends and answer ads from others as well. It’s often a surprise just who pops into my life.
Let me give you just one example. I’m thinking of a particular ad I answered which was placed by a woman living in France. Because I love French food I thought it would be grand getting to know this gal. It was my hope that she would share her favorite French recipes and tell me stories about French cuisine.
But in receiving her letter I was quite surprised to learn this gal wasn’t French at all. Though she truly was living in France (since she married a Frenchman) Milantra was actually born and raised in Thailand. What fun! After all, I liked Thai food too, and though I hadn’t been searching for a Thai pen friend at that time, I was delighted that a Thai pen friend found me.
When we’re reaching out in friendship, ‘the powers that be’ will send us exactly those people we need at that time in order to cultivate the richest life possible for ourselves.
So, if you want to be happy, or happier, for the rest of your life cultivate friendships with people who are kindred spirits. And remember, kindred spirits can come to you in the form of pen friends just as well as in-person friends. Write lots of letters. They are yak fests set to paper. Feel that oxytocin lift your spirits as you write. To letter writers the whole world is a friendly neighborhood in which to find kindred spirits. Tend and befriend. This is a sure-fire recipe for happiness.