Last week, I wrote about how we could continue to grow during the downtime forced upon us by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Fortunate people have been able to keep their jobs, but are spending a lot more time at home. The unfortunate have been scrambling to figure out how to pivot from losing their jobs, a massive loss in clients, or even a government-mandated shutdown of their businesses.
Either way, the goal of that article was to encourage us all to find opportunity to grow during this time, instead of just letting it eat away at us.
That’s what I tried to do the first two weeks. I made a commitment to doubling down my efforts in creating content, I enrolled in some online courses, and I started writing a new project.
But last weekend things changed.
I woke up early Saturday morning before the rest of my family and sat on the couch, thinking about the heaviness of it all.
I thought about my brother, who, like so many others, is losing his catering clients left and right due to canceled weddings and events. I thought about my mother, who lived in a part of the state that wasn’t taking this pandemic seriously enough and who is in the age bracket most affected by this virus. I was hurting. My people were hurting.
Then I realized that I am not unique. We are all scared. We are all hurting.
Understanding that reality, and probably because I was listening to old Kenny Rogers songs (RIP), I just sat there and cried.
I thought about how I would approach the weeks ahead. My team and I discussed how much marketing and content creation we should do. Should we just keep on with business as usual?
It was challenging for me. I am lucky enough to have steady work and even provide more hours for my part-time team members who lost other income. But I wondered if it would seem tone-deaf to continue putting out content about how storytelling can help people’s businesses.
Then I remembered that at its essence, storytelling is about connection.
This is actually the perfect time for sharing stories.
When you tell someone a story, it creates empathy, understanding, and relatability. People inevitably compare the events in the story to the events going on in their lives.
This makes them feel not so alone. And during a time like this, that is imperative.
In fact, when we hear a story that we can relate to, it actually causes us to connect with people neurologically. Through a process called “neural coupling,” the neural pathways in our brains light up as if we are going through the experiences in the story ourselves.
This creates oxytocin in our brains — and oxytocin creates a bond between us.
That’s how we deepen our connection with people in our communities, both large and small.
This is not a time for people to feel more alone. They’re already stuck at home being kept away from people they love and kept away from the world around them. If we aren’t careful, even more damage can be done than we’re experiencing with our health and economy.
There will absolutely be PTSD to some degree for all of us from this experience.
It is traumatic.
But if we fight against it by seeking out any opportunity to stay connected with people, we have a chance at navigating this crisis and reducing the residual damage that may come from it.
So whether on the phone, or over video call, or writing a letter, or whatever you have to do, share your stories with people.
Let them know they are not alone in this. Let them know that you are also hurting. Let them know what obstacles to avoid and how. And if you have positive experiences or know how others have made it through this, by all means, let everyone know!
And I will keep helping people understand the best ways to share those stories.
Rain Bennett is a two-time Emmy-nominated filmmaker, writer, and competitive storyteller with over a decade of experience producing documentary films that focus on health and wellness. His mission is simple: to make the world happier and healthier by sharing stories of change.
You can read the rest of “Right as Rain” here, and check back every Wednesday on Chapelboro for a new column!