Fostering Connection — The Personal Side
In the practical blog on this subject, I asked you to take inventory of your current connections and ask yourself this question: “Do I regularly engage in activities that foster mental, emotional, spiritual and physical connection in my life?” Not long after typing that question, I remembered a somewhat funny piece of advice a professor had shared with my class during graduate school. My professor was a marriage and family therapist. He said oftentimes during couples counseling he would prescribe this: “Have sex twice a week whether you need it or not—even if you have to schedule the exact days and times.”
As a twenty-something student this sounded funny to me, but now that I am older I think I get it. We like to think of connecting with others—be it romantically, in friendly conversation, at church or even in a counselor’s office—as some magical thing that just happens. And, in our defense, that is how Hollywood often portrays connection. But the truth is, and my professor knew it, connection requires thoughtfulness and effort—well worth both of course. Like one of my best highly introverted friends always says to me, “I didn’t want to attend [insert any social event], but now that it is over I did enjoy connecting with others.”
Mental, emotional, spiritual and physical connection are essential to health. Connection helps us learn and grow, makes us feel heard, challenges us in positive ways and even produces chemical changes in our bodies that make us feel happier, calmer and safe.
So how about you? When you took inventory (as described in the practical blog on this piece) were you able to identify ways you regularly connect with others? Do you feel you are getting all of the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical connection you need?
If you would like some ways to foster connection in your life in 2016, here are some ideas:
1) Make a commitment: Like the advice from my professor—make a commitment to your chosen way to connect. For example, commit to a date night every Friday, breakfast with a friend twice a month or a weekly religious service.
2) Make it count: When you show up to your commitment (see #1), make the most of it. For example, if you are at a party, talk to someone new (it might broaden your perspective). If you are going on a date, think of one or two meaningful questions to ask ahead of time to spice up the conversation.
3) Make memories & meaning: Find ways to connect (hint: most of these will need to be well thought out and planned) that make lifetime lasting impressions. Do things that ten years from now you can look back on and say really impacted your life. For example, start a new holiday tradition, visit somewhere you have never been or just trying something new–[insert any dream here].
If you are feeling disconnected mentally or emotionally, a licensed mental health counselor can help. A trained psychotherapist can help you identify and implement ways to make connection part of your daily life so that you can have the most fulfilling and meaningful life possible. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one trained and seasoned Orlando mental health counselors.