Connection in a Café

Most of you that know me well also know my love for coffee, so it comes as no surprise that I was anxiously awaiting the opening of our new local Starbucks store. As I move past the camel colored leather chairs and the collection of Scandinavian influenced wooden tables and neutral flowered art murals, I realize that it is more than the cup of coffee that I enjoy. Like many of you, I love the atmosphere, the simple themes of color and design that differ slightly, but also have a sense of familiarity from store to store. It is new yet “familiar”.

The Starbucks marketing team has intentionally created a space that feels warm and inviting and replicates a sense of “home” no matter where you go. They focus on the gathering of their customers, which from a marketing perspective is brilliant in our fast-paced, technology-based, individualistic society.

As I sit with my cup of brew, I dig a little deeper to reflect on what the space “feels”like. What emotional connection and mood does this space bring me, the consumer? More importantly, this space provides an environment of face to face human connection. I watch a group of teenage friends gathering with their favorite caffeinated concoction laughing together, a couple, perhaps on their first date, enjoying their conversation, a gentleman on his laptop setting up his portable office at a quiet table by the window. I thought about all of the reasons I love to come to Starbucks (and many other cafés for that matter) and the human connection goes way beyond the coffee in my hand decorated cup.

In his book, Lost Connections, Johann Hari explores how lack of connection with others and self, and lack of purpose and belonging, contributes to depression and anxiety. Though I am not finished reading the book, it has been an interesting read so far, and I can verify that a lack of human connection is a common thread in many seeking counseling. This is a cultural issue that has become an epidemic and is further intensified during the holidays. Holidays can be especially difficult for many of us for a variety of reasons-grief, loneliness, broken relationships, financial stresses, and much more.

If you are feeling lonely and lack human connection in your life, explore some of the reasons that may be keeping you from connecting with others in ways you would want to. What are some specific changes you can make to your daily routines and how you organize your time? Here are some tips that may be helpful not only during the holidays but to help you build more meaningful relationships in your life.

If you are able, volunteer in your community. Homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and local community organizations are always looking for volunteers.

Call and connect with one friend that you have been meaning to reach out to.

Take a friend or someone in need a meal.

Sign up for a local art, cooking, or fitness class.

If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or lack of connection, we are here to help.

At Sanctuary Christian Counseling, we help grieving individuals, distressed teens and couples in conflict find peace, solutions and connection.

Sanctuary Christian Counseling

9974 Molly Pitcher Highway, Suite 4

Shippensburg, PA 17257

717-200-3158

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