Madeleine Eames

- Psychotherapist
- Mindfulness Teacher

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We are wired…

for connection. We are intimately connected to others in the grand web of human design. When we feel disconnected or lonely we are simply forgetting our connection. Feeling lonely is a natural human emotion.

 

“When you tug on a single thing in nature, you find it attached to the rest of the world”
John Muir

 

We need connection. Babies don’t thrive unless they are nurtured and connected to others. Research out of Brigham Young University is showing that social connections improve our odds of survival by 50%. Low social interaction is as damaging to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, twice as harmful as being obese, and the equivalent of being a lifelong alcoholic. Being connected releases oxytocin and serotonin. In fact, these ‘feel good’ chemicals increase when giving, receiving or witnessing acts of kindness.  Wow. That’s powerful stuff.

 

It’s no wonder that people who are isolated feel more anxious and depressed. Unfortunately, a byproduct of anxiety and depression is isolation, so even more reason to get out there in some way, no matter how you feel.

 

It seems that the busier people’s lives get, the more disconnected people feel. Thus, the endless hours spent on social media capturing a feeling of connection to the world.But we don’t have to resort to facebook to feel connected, although it is a good way to keep up with the superficial events in friend’s lives.

We may indeed need more connections, or we may need deeper connections with those already around us.

There are opportunities all around us everyday to feel a deeper connection. I was reminded of a story by Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly that recounted when she smiled and chatted with her neighbourhood grocery clerk at the check-out. The woman thanked her for her attention, stating “You have no idea how many people treat us like we’re not human”.

I calculated I get groceries at least twice a week, for 14 years at the same place, makes for more than 1500 trips to the check-out. That’s probably more than I see close friends.

Think of all those people around you that support you in everything you do… from groceries to banking to food serving to teaching or coaching your kids, to friendships to kids and their friends to your spouse… the list goes on.

Don’t wait to feel connected. Start connecting.

Try this:

Make a mindful connection with everyone you meet today. Make eye contact, start a conversation. The biggest human need is the need to be seen.

Think of a relationship you desire a deeper connection with. It may be a child or an adult. Make a point of connecting: Look at that person as another human being who also has a need for connection. Slow down. Make time for them. Ask them open-ended questions, inquire about their hopes, fears and dreams. Make time to BE with them, without DOing, SEE them for who they ARE, not what they are DOing.

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