Life moves fast and is full of distractions. You ask your spouse a question and they don’t look up from their phone to answer. You say something to your child and they don’t answer because they can’t hear you through the headphones. You try to connect with a friend and need to schedule a lunch date weeks in the future. You try to create family dinners but everyone’s sports schedules get in the way.
In all of these scenarios, it’s the relationships that suffer and everyone loses in the end. When it is all said and done, we all want to feel connected, to be seen, to feel valued. This takes work and intention. And it is important. We all know that the rates of mental illness (anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, drug addiction) are increasing every year, and there are many theories about why this is happening — isolation from COVID, unhealthy additives in the food, financial recession, etc.
While no one is able to individually solve any of these problems, we are able to make a difference in our own homes, in our own relationships. We can make a difference in the lives of those we love through intentional connection with them.
- There is huge value in looking someone in the eye when having a conversation. This indicates that you are listening, interested, and focused on what they are saying.
- There is huge value in making sure your child engages in a conversation with you. Gently ask them to take off their headphones and repeat what you said. Go for a walk with them. Play a game with them.
- There is huge value in making time for friendships. Make that date with your friend and keep it! While you are at lunch, keep your phones away and really talk AND listen.
- There is huge value in eating together as a family. Make it a priority.
- There is huge value in physical touch. Hugging someone for 20 seconds lowers blood pressure, decreases heart rates and increases feelings of well-being.
This world, or at least your world, will be a better place when you create meaningful connections. Enjoy!
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