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Here & Now
Fall 2019 (Florida Coast Magazine) – When was the last time you felt fully connected? You weren’t overwhelmingly busy or distracted, but instead, you felt completely present and plugged into peace.
We all crave connection; it’s one of our primal needs as a human being. Nothing compares to feeling a deep sense of connection with yourself, your surroundings, and the world at large. Modern technological advances have not only aided us in the quest for deeper connection, but we’re able to accomplish so much more in our lives, more easily! As such, we’ve created new norms for our lives where multi-tasking is praised, the length of our “to-do” list is a bragging right, and busyness is glorified. The thing is, even though we’re “doing” more, so many of us are feeling more disconnected than ever. Why?
Dr. Russ Harris, a leader in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), says that, “‘Connection’ means being fully aware of your here-and-now experience, fully in touch with what is happening in this moment. In practicing connection, we pull ourselves out of the past or the future and bring ourselves back to the present—right here, right now."
Why is this so important? If you’re only half-present, you’re missing out on what life has to offer, he states. The more present you are, the more power you have to take effective action. The more effective action you take, the more you’re able to move your life in the direction you desire rather than reacting on autopilot.
When busyness is glorified, we’re missing out on a deeper sense of connection because we’re distracted with everything we have to do rather than where we get to be in the present moment. Being busy for the sake of being busy lends us to the tendency to overextend ourselves with obligations, appointments, and commitments outside of ourselves that don’t align with our true needs. Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly, goes on to share another thought on why busyness has become so appealing: “‘Crazy-busy’ is a great armor, it’s a great way for numbing. What a lot of us do is that we stay so busy, and so out in front of our life, that the truth of how we’re feeling and what we really need can't catch up with us.”
Using busyness as a mechanism for connection that supports a lifestyle of doing rather than being can impact our physical, mental, and emotional health, leaving us feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, and unfulfilled. With stress being deemed the “health epidemic of the 21st Century” by the World Health Organization, it’s crucial we begin making some changes.
We’re all busy, I know, but maybe that’s why we’re feeling the way we do in the first place. Instead of using our busyness as an excuse to avoid true connection to the present, we have the power to prioritize our needs before we get too stressed out to deal with them.
Buried under our to-do list is an opportunity to become more present. At any given moment, we can disconnect from the stress and busyness and provide our brain and body the space it needs to feel more connected. »
4 ways to Practice Feeling More Connected:
Claim a Personal Power Hour – First thing in the morning, even before picking up your phone, connect with yourself and your day. Divide the hour into three increments: ONE – 20 minutes – Move and Stretch to connect with your body. TWO – 20 minutes – Meditate to connect with your breath. THREE – 20 minutes – learn something new to connect with your mind. By doing this first thing in the morning, you’re claiming your power, putting yourself first, and setting your intention before busyness can set in.
Zenify Your Space – Notice your surroundings and how they affect your well-being. Get rid of any items that have a negative charge to them (whenever possible); declutter, organize, and clean. Notice how your body feels when you’re in different spaces. Is there tension or discomfort or ease and peace? Add colors and accents that calm and nurture you so your brain’s default mode becomes one of tranquility rather than stress or overwhelm.
Change It Up – New experiences create new neurological connections in the brain and require you to be more present rather than operate in your “default mode.” Become curious about what you can learn and explore something that is new and different every day. Get outside and visit new places. Try new foods. Have conversations with strangers. Maybe start small by taking a different way to work or walking to your desk. Little changes have a big impact to feeling more connected with your world.
Make Eye Contact – Eye contact is one of the easiest ways to make someone feel recognized, understood, and validated. Intentionally make eye contact with people throughout your day. Whether it’s someone passing you in the hall, giving you your change, or having a deep conversation with you, make it a priority to look into their eyes. See how connected you feel as a result.