How to Feel Less Lonely and More Connected

07.21.2022 - By The Science of Happiness

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When we feel more connected, we're kinder and care more for others. After 21 years of being incarcerated, our guest Simon Liu, of Bay Area Freedom House Collective, tries a practice that helps him remember the profound connections he's made both inside and out of prison // throughout his life.

Link to episode transcript:

Episode summary:

When’s the last time you felt a deep connection with someone, and then really reflected on your connections? This week on The Science of Happiness, our guest tries a writing practice to feel more connected to those close to him. Simon Liu is the co-founder of the Bay Area Freedom Collective, a home where other formerly incarcerated people can find community and connections. Simon talks about the importance of the social connections he made while in prison, and outside. Psychologist David Cwir explains how finding and building connections not only supports our emotional well-being, but can also change our bodies.

Feeling Connected

Think of a time when you felt a strong bond with someone in your life. Choose a specific experience where you felt especially close and connected to them. Spend a few minutes writing about what happened during the experience. In particular, consider how the experience made you feel close and connected to the other person.

Today’s guests:
Simon Liu co-founded the Bay Area Freedom Collective, a home by and for formerly incarcerated people, which provides resources and support for their re-entry. Simon is also a software engineer.

To learn more about Bay Area Freedom House:


To financially support the Bay Area Freedom Collective:

David Cwir is an associate professor of psychology at Briercrest College and Seminary. His research has looked at how moments of social connection with strangers can positively affect our bodies and minds.

Learn more about this practice at Greater Good In Action:

We’d love for you to try out this practice and share how it went for you. Email us at [email protected] or use the hashtag #happinesspod.

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Resources for Feeling Connected:

Harvard Health — Easy daily ways to feel more connected:

NPR — 4 tips to stay connected when your friends live far away:

The New York Times — Need to Dust Off Your Social Skills? (featuring Dacher):

How to Start Over (The Atlantic) — The Misgivings of Friend-Making:

Invisibilia — Therapy, With Friends:

More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:

Feeling Connected Makes Us Kind:

Is Social Connection the Best Path to Happiness?

Why You Click With Certain People:

Why Are We So Wired to Connect?

Listen to our episode, “Who Makes You Feel Connected?”

Listen to our episode, “What Are Your Strongest Reminders of Connection?”

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