Are you aware of the power of connecting with people – and, most importantly, with yourself?
Fostering connections with others, to our surrounding environments and our own personal thoughts are vital factors that contribute to our physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Everyone’s definition of “connection” seems to vary, depending on whom you ask. To me, genuine connection is much more than simply chatting it up with other people or sharing interests.
In fact, connecting with others is more a sense of being available and open to another person. Other elements of connection include compassion, empathy and any other trait that helps you feel goodwill to the person you are establishing a connection with at the time.
Here are some basic examples of human connection:
- Participating in a personal conversation about what’s meaningful and important to you with someone else and also feeling listened to, understood and accepted.
- Helping someone out just for the sake of goodwill
- Taking the time to truly listen to another person and feel empathy toward them
- Offering and receiving gratitude to and from others
- A shared experience with others that involves smiling or laughter
The Mental and Physical Benefits of Social Connection
Put simply: connection boosts our overall health. Experts say that when we feel connected to others, our bodies release oxytocin, a bonding chemical, which in turn triggers the release of the feel-good chemical serotonin. This activates our reward circuitry of the brain, resulting in a positive effect and a pleasant experience in our system.
According to studies, increased levels of oxytocin and serotonin can help counter stress, lower anxiety and keep the risk of depression down. More specifically, serotonin plays a role in regulating digestion and appetite, sleep, memory, and sexual health. Therefore, working continuously to get more connected with others is a powerful strategy to help enhance your overall mental and physical health.
Ways You Can Foster More Connection
There are many effective, simple ways to help you make more meaningful connections in 2020. Here are a few:
- Breathe deeply. Incorporating deep, intentional breathing can help remind our brain that we are safe. As a result, we can better connect our minds to our bodies and our bodies to our surrounding environment. With long deep breaths, you enable a full oxygen exchange with your environment, helping to slow the heartbeat and lower your blood pressure. Overall, this allows your entire physiology to feel calmer and more connected.
- Express gratitude daily. Being grateful is one way to actively train the prefrontal cortex of the brain and counter fear. By asking the brain to identify reasons to be thankful, it can fortify the thoughtful and rational areas of the brain. This basic act of expressing gratitude intrinsically lowers reactivity to threat and creates a natural override of the brain’s stress response center. It also reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, throughout the body, which allows us to feel less stressed.
- Smile and laugh. When you laugh or smile with others, you instantly feel more connected. According to research, the premotor cortex of our brain activates when we see someone smile. This, in turn, triggers our own smiling muscles in our face – one of the most effective and easiest ways to establish a connective effect. So, instead of hunching down over your phone or avoiding looking people in the eye, try giving neighbors, fellow shoppers in the grocery store or work colleagues a quick smile and wave.
The Spiritual Benefits of Feeling Connected
In my experience, I believe that how you begin your day sets the tone for your entire spiritual, mental and emotional life. And if you don’t have a wake-up routine, it might be time for you to put the effort in to create one. Many people find that waking before sunrise and spending the first hour of the day meditating, praying or otherwise connecting with their spiritual side is one of the most natural ways to feel a significant shift in your spiritual life.
There is an array of spiritual benefits to feeling connected to others and yourself. When you connect to your surrounding world, you can more easily find your place in the world. When we connect, we allow the light and sound to flow through us, and we become channels of the light and sound, distributing it to everyone around us. Not only does the twin aspects of light and sound benefit us as individuals, but it also helps us a whole and in our relationships with others.
According to the Mayo Clinic, spirituality has numerous definitions, but ultimately, it helps to give your life true context. The key is understanding that it’s not necessarily connected to specific religious worship, but rather, it arises from your connection with The Divine, with others and with yourself.
For some, while spirituality takes the form of religious observance, for others, it can be found in nature, music, art and other areas. Spirituality is different for everyone. The good news is that it has numerous benefits for stress relief and overall mental health. It can help:
- Give you a sense of purpose. Nurturing your spirituality can help uncover what’s most meaningful to you. With this approach, you can focus less on trivial matters and lower stress levels.
- You feel more connected to the outside world. When you feel like you have a purpose, you are less likely to feel lonely, even when you are actually alone.
- Expand your support network. Whether you find spirituality in a religious group, with friends, in your family or out in nature, a sharing of spiritual expression can help foster connections with others.
If you are wondering where to start, try something new, such as doing guided meditations, sun salutations facing the rising sun or reading a book as the sun comes up. And if you are not an early riser, at least consider that 20 fewer minutes of sleep probably won’t make a major impact on your overall well-being, but 20 minutes spent in spiritual pursuit every day most certainly will.
Another way to connect; get involved in the well-being of your local community. Start by volunteering to feed the homeless, teach at a local senior citizen’s home, plant a community garden, mentor a high school student, play and interact with the pets at the local shelter or even just give random compliments to complete strangers.
You can also immerse yourself in the magnificent, vast world around you. Go camping or hiking. Take your dog on a walk. By connecting to a plant or an animal, you are connecting to the universe. The universe outside of us is actually within us. It’s that simple.
Feeling Isolated? There’s Hope for Connection
We all struggle to connect on an emotional level and constantly yearn to be a part of a group with which we can relate. The hardest thing for anyone to do is to perform a self-reflection assessment of your current energy levels, thoughts, and emotions.
Take our free 1-Minute Burnout Assessment, and we will help take away your self-doubt and allow you to find out if you’re suffering from anxiety, stress, and isolation. Begin your journey towards a higher quality of life and feeling better connected today.
If you’re struggling with feeling connected and are experiencing moderate to severe anxiety, fear, pain or social isolation, these are signs of a more serious condition with your energetic anatomy and can be remedied. The first step is to ask for help. Click here to schedule your free consultation today. The solution for your feelings of anxiety, fear or social isolation could be as close as just one or two Gemstone and Diamond Therapy sessions.