Let’s face it, some days just suck. And sometimes we have day after day that kinda sucks. Maybe it’s related to things going on around us or maybe we don’t really know why we are feeling awful, or in a funk, or just blah.
We just want to feel better. The blahness is less than motivating (at best) and paralyzing at worst. So we look for the easy things that make us feel better in the moment but often have a net negative effect; like chocolate, netflix, online shopping, or wine.
Sure, for the moment we escape whatever it is that is bothering us but the feeling isn’t going to disappear when the short term benefits of these quick solutions wear off.
So what’s the easy and less fattening answer?
Connection, you ask? Yup, backed by science, CONNECTION.
Connection is directly related to your level of wellness, to how good you feel.
There’s lots of science about this, about how connection helps maintain a healthy BMI, improves cancer survival, controls blood sugars, decreases symptoms of depression and has a positive effect on cardiovascular mortality. But when I am having a bad day what I really care about is it can make me FEEL better.
The good news is, connection has nothing to do with how many friends you have or how many instagram followers. It doesn’t rely on a big social network or geographic proximity to other people. Connection is a subjective feeling that is available to you AT ANY TIME.
If I asked you what you do or could do for your health and wellness you would probably say you should exercise and you should schedule it in on a regular basis. But do you spend any time PLANNING connection? And not distracted, talking to you while I scroll my phone or listen to music, but 5 minutes of true connection, of deep listening, of actual sharing? This doesn’t have to involve revealing your inner secrets. It is really much simpler than that.
Connection can take the form of stopping for a few minutes to actually listen to your coworker instead of trying to craft a quick exit from work. It may even be as easy as thinking of the people you are grateful for in your life… and if you want to take it one step further you can send them a quick text. Basically it’s mindful presence, actually focusing on connecting with a person instead of letting your thoughts bounce around like a pinball, hitting every situation in your life in under 30 seconds.
Take this quick assessment.
Who are the people in your life who are important to you?
How do you stay connected to them?
Is there any easy way to increase the frequency of this interaction in your life?
Are there “secondary people” that you are connected to?
What can you do to build on the quality of these interactions?
What if the prescription for feeling better was as easy as identifying where in your life you are currently connected with others? Don’t forget the groups you are part of (they may not be formal groups). It may be the group of the nurses on your floor, or the dance moms, or your neighbors, or the people at the gym. Maybe there are opportunities to join groups by connecting with other similar people online, women business owners, people who love gardening, fans of YA fiction.
After you complete your “connection assessment”, develop a plan to increase that by 10%. Put it on the calendar or as a reminder on your phone. Plan a time to feel better just by connecting with someone. Improving your health and wellness doesn’t have to feel like restriction and punishment, it can feel great!
Practicing connection can improve your ability to connect. It opens the possibility of more sources of “feeling Better.” We can practice this with casual acquaintances or our families and reap the benefits of improving our ability to connect (and our level of wellness).
For my introverts, no need to start freaking out. You can be alone without being lonely just as you can be surrounded by people and feel alone. This is just about finding little ways to be connected. Maybe it’s sending a card to someone who is important to you, feeling connected as you pick it out, write it and send it. It can be as easy as planning a time to get together with someone and then looking forward to it, or even reminiscing over old pictures of the last time you were together. It can be sitting and listening to your son talk about the latest drama with the KNICKS and not thinking about anything other than how you can enjoy his enthusiasm.
It's like the old AT&T commercial, “reach out and touch someone.”
It will make you feel better right away and it won’t involve a sugar crash later on.
Exciting upcoming event: 5 day face book challenge: How to feel better at work. Click here to follow my page and watch for all the upcoming info