Words by Sid Madge of Meee
Being seen. Being heard. Being loved. Being connected. It’s all part of being human. And yet for too many of us COVID has limited how we connect, reduced our connection and diminished our connectedness. We’ve had to socially distance to get the pandemic under control but many of us are feeling the impact on our health and happiness. There’s even a new term for it – languishing. If thriving is optimal mental health, languishing is the polar opposite.
So, what can we do to reconnect? I’m a great believer in instant change, little ‘micro-moments’ of learning or adaptation that allow us to actively take charge of our situation and emotions in the moment, reset and bring more of our best to help ourselves and others. Each micro-moment intervention is designed to be actionable in a minute and I’ve written three books on these micro-moments for life, work and family.
Here are a few ways to re-connect and plug back into life – in just a moment.
I recently heard a great podcast about cultivating a spiritual practice, with Lisa Miller and Rich Roll. I love that there is now real science to back up what we’ve known for thousands of years. “We don’t make our way in life, we discover it.”
Lisa talks about relationships and how they need to move from being transactional (what we can get from each other) to transformational, where we support and help each other to reach our goals and be our best selves. When I think of my journey and how I’ve reconnected with myself, my children and the world around me the joy, love and connection I now feel is overwhelming at times – in a very good way!
Take a few minutes to really tune into yourself and imagine your perfect life. Ask yourself, if money or location didn’t matter, what would a perfect day look like? We’re not talking about extreme experiences like climbing Mount Everest, or being uber successful, but consider what your average day would be like in your perfect life. What’s so surprising about this exercise is that we are often much closer to it than we imagine. How many of those perfect life events or activities can you already do right now? So do more. Connect to yourself and what makes you happy, peaceful and contented.
Getting Connected to Others
We are all connected. Imagine holding hands with the ones you love. Then imagine them holding hands with the ones they love. And then imagine them holding hands with the ones they love. I wonder how many times we would need to do this to be connected to everyone on earth. Possibly just six times!
Six degrees of separation is the idea that all people are six or fewer social connections away from each other. As a result, a chain of “friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps, or six handshakes.
In Covid we have retreated but it’s time to push out again. Take a minute to think about someone you’ve not seen because of Covid. A friend or family member. Call them and arrange to meet up. Go for a walk outside in nature or go for a coffee or if they are too far away hop on FaceTime or Zoom. It might feel a bit odd to start with but it’s still possible to connect and laugh and enjoy each other’s company and companionship without being in the same room.
A Daily Random Act of Kindness
This may sound a bit cheesy, but there’s actually a lot of psychological research that shows that acts of kindness are contagious. They even spread throughout social networks and influence people we don’t even know.
Kindness is also one of the only things that doubles when you share it. Just one act of kindness a day reduces stress, anxiety and depression. Your body becomes flooded with hormones that help you and the person you’ve helped feel healthier, happier and calmer.
Make a commitment right now that you will demonstrate a random act of kindness every day. Hold a door open for someone, smile at someone you don’t know and mean it. Help someone struggling with shopping bags up the stairs. We can all find ways to be kinder and more connected in everything we do. We may not always be thanked or even acknowledged but we will always feel better, and that positive energy will spread.
The other thing this crisis shows very clearly is how dependent we are on certain professions. Around the globe, there are governments coming up with lists of so-called vital professions. If you look at those lists, you won’t find the hedge fund managers or marketeers, you’ll find the garbage collectors and the teachers and the nurses, people who are often not paid that well, but as it turns out are the people we can’t live without.
Take a minute to think about the people you are most grateful for. Make sure you let them know – every day. Think about the other things in your life that you are grateful for. Your health, your home or job, the ability to walk in nature. A cozy room on a winter’s evening, having a laugh with your friends. Just take a few minutes at the start of each day and before drifting off to sleep to count your blessings, despite the challenges we face.
There is a lot about the world we can’t change right now but there are lots of little things we can change to connect more authentically with ourselves and other. By doing them, we can make big changes for the better at home, at work and in our communities.